KOCHI: With more than 1,000 patents to his credit, Thomas Alva Edison is perhaps the greatest scientist of all times. His laboratory at Menlo Park witnessed many an invention that eventually earned him the title of ‘The Wizard of Menlo Park’. And at Menlo Park, magician Gopinath Muthukad’s new initiative at Magic Planet, you will see kids decoding magic through science. “It’s an effort to develop scientific insight in children and it’s a joint venture in association with Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment,” says Gopinath Muthukad.
Edison, a child who couldn’t cope with the education system of that time, was home-schooled by his mother. “But he tuned out to be one of the biggest inventors in history. Inspired by him is our Menlo Park where children will be introduced to the scientific aspects of everything including magic.” Muthukad says science is the backbone of magic,“without its backing you won’t be able to practise the art of magic. If there is no science, there is no magic.” He adds that every invention at its initial stage was more akin to magic than science.
“Renowned magician David Copperfield used to present cordless mic as a magic act. He would come with a regular cable attached to the mic and act unhappy with the sound quality. Then he would cut the cable using a knife and now the mic will function with more sound and clarity. This trick was received with thunderous applause from the audience till cordless mics became common,” he says.
At Menlo Park the students will also be introduced to scientific principles behind myths and superstitions. “There are people who use magic for unethical purposes, claiming that they have supernatural powers. Here all those so called ‘miracles’ will be decoded and explained in terms of science and magic in front of the children,” he says.
Among the activities of Menlo Park will be sessions on scientific and mathematical formulas. “Students usually mug up a lot of things just to reproduce them during exams. We want to create a lasting impression in their minds through images,” he says. He adds that in many western countries students are introduced to magic in primary classes itself.
“It’s part of their curriculum, but we haven’t started to use magic in that way. If we follow that pattern we can save the children from falling for a lot of wrong notions and superstitions. They will know it’s science at work, not any man-made miracle,” he says. Menlo Park will be inaugurated at Magic Planet in Kinfra Film and Video Park in the city on October 24.