HOME

David Terr
Ph.D. Math, UC Berkeley

 

Magic tricks with Math :

Many people who practice magic use math when performing tricks. Card tricks are often played using math. The magician will count the number of cards that are in front of and behind the card that the audience member has chosen. They will be able to determine which card was picked this way. Other magic tricks that involve illusion are done using math. The angle at which some of the tricks are performed and the timing between different phases of the magic tricks is all done using simple math. Knowing how to use mirrors and other devices require a person to much about angles and how light and reflection work together.

Magicians enjoy making people believe that they have just witnessed an unbelievable feat. But the truth is that magic is a series of quick moves and illusions that are created to make people believe they are witnessing something they are not. Math can play a very big part in this. Magic is more than magic words, costumes, and smoke. Each trick is carefully perfected until people cannot tell whether what they are seeing is real or not. Math enables magicians to see where improvements can be made and where the tricks have failed. By practicing over and over, the magician will be able to perfect their act and fool even the smartest audiences into believing what they are seeing is real. Magic relies on people who are willing to believe in the magician, the quickness of the tricks, and on basic math skills.