Il­lu­sionol­ogy: when sci­ence seems mag­i­cal

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT TELEVISION -

“Peo­ple think they are watch­ing a magic show re­veal, where you see the sci­ence be­hind the tricks. It’s not that.

“What we did is take sci­ence – and things we all prob­a­bly learnt at school – and make them more amaz­ing. So it looks like real magic and peo­ple go, ‘Wow!’ So you are not learn­ing how David Cop­per­field cuts peo­ple in half. You are not learn­ing how we make tigers ap­pear and dis­ap­pear.

“It’s tak­ing sci­ence and mak­ing it look like magic in a cool and unique way, which is why it is so dif­fer­ent to any­thing else on TV.”

In­spired by Blaine and Penn and Teller, he says he prefers magic that is more light-hearted. In the sec­ond sea­son, the guys have quite a few tricks up their sleeves.

He re­veals: “There is the sim­ple stuff. And then we had other things that were mas­sively elab­o­rate. One that springs to mind is the whole piece we did try­ing to read some­one’s mind.

“Ma­gi­cians, of course, have a whole way of psy­chol­ogy and sug­ges­tion to read some­one’s mind. We found a de­vice that you can plug on to some­one’s head in a hat that gen­uinely reads their mind. We made them think of a colour and then put the de­vice on their head and the mon­i­tor would tell us the colour they are think­ing of. And we de­cided to test that.

“So we got one of our ma­gi­cians to bungee jump with four dif­fer­ent coloured ropes – with only one at­tached. He knew the colour that was not to be cut. We got the mach- ine to read his mind and tell us which ropes to cut. We dressed it up more the­atri­cally.”

Other feats in­clude one of them hand­cuffed and thrown into a tank of wa­ter and one where Han­lin was placed in a box and set on fire. “It wasn’t a fun day,” he laughs. Of course, view­ers will have to tune in to find out more.

airs on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel (DStv chan­nel 121) on Wed­nes­days at 9pm. By the way, the fourth and fi­nal sea­son of

also airs on the chan­nel, also on Wed­nes­days, at 8.05pm. His guests this sea­son in­clude Cold­play, Sam Smith, One Di­rec­tion and Bol­ly­wood star, Ir­rfan Khan.

PIC­TURE: DIS­COV­ERY CHAN­NEL

JUST AN IL­LU­SION: Ben Han­lin uses sci­ence as the foun­da­tion for his mag­i­cal feats in Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel’s sec­ond sea­son of Magic of Sci­ence.

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