The Trick That Fooled Einstein

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Joe Mckay » 02/19/13 02:00 PM

Okay - so I think Al Koran invented this trick.

Does anyone know if Al Koran ever actually performed it for Einstein? Or was that just something he made up for the presentation?

The question occured to me after reading the following which talks about Richard Feynman figuring out some tricks he saw James Randi do:

http://www.brew-wood.co.uk/physics/feynman.htm#randi
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Postby Max Maven » 02/20/13 03:24 AM

Al Koran did not invent this trick. Its origin is not certain, but it dates back at least as far as the late 1920s, and is probably older.

Koran began his professional performing career in 1952. Einstein died in 1955. It seems unlikely that they ever met.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 02/20/13 02:00 PM

That Feynman anecdote list later has one about his visit to an early Penn and Teller performance. Unlike Randi's tricks, Feynman was unable to figure out Teller's "Shadows".
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Postby Joe Mckay » 02/21/13 02:44 AM

Thanks for the responses! I really hoped you would catch this one Max since I knew you would the know the hisotrical information.

Now - I never really liked the 'Trick That Fooled Einstein'. Although for those who do, I think Barrie Richardson has the best version of the plot.

Maybe I should take another look at it since the presentation is quite charming.

Anyway - here is a nice link to a little 'trick' that Richard Feynman used to pull on colleagues:

http://erkdemon.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/ ... ynman.html
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Postby Jonathan Pendragon » 02/27/13 08:36 AM

The trick that fooled Einstein? Einstein was a great theoretical physicist, not a stage magician. Why must we always reduce magic to a puzzle?

So Feynman couldn't figure out Teller's effect with the shadows. Why even try? It's art. Sit back and enjoy.

I fooled Stephen Hawking with a top change and a pair of boobs (Risqu Aces).

Yes, as an intellectual exercise, I have figured out many of the great mysteries of magic (albeit not as many as Jim Steinmeyer has). But I'm a magician; it's my job to understand the principles. If I had Einstein's brain, I wouldn't spend my time figuring out "clip it;" I'd be thinking about greater mysteries, like the secrets of the universe.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 02/27/13 12:53 PM

if magic is an art - then why do so many people who experience do so with the puzzle mind set? is that their fault? even if the magician is presenting their work with artful intent?

assumptions are worth questioning.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 02/27/13 02:05 PM

Brad Henderson wrote:if magic is an art - then why do so many people who experience do so with the puzzle mind set? is that their fault? even if the magician is presenting their work with artful intent?

assumptions are worth questioning.


I think a variant of this question could be asked about most any field that is often considered to be art. You may like a particular painter, while I think he is just a scribbler. I may not think the work of your favorite pianist is worth while.

Art and its relationship to those who experience it (or, in this case, don't experience it) is too subjective to say that a particular work is or isn't art because one person doesn't perceive it that way.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/28/13 10:10 AM

Magic as we discuss it here is a performing art. That frame of a performance is fundamental to our craft, the proscenium arch through which the audience can enjoy magic tricks rather than feel threatened by alien ideas. A work can be designed to appear as if a collector is displaying their unusual items. An equally valid design could be the reverie of a tipsy club member who can't tell if they got home or are still at the club. What's the story? What are they supposed to be watching?

When it comes to discussing art, there are significant distinctions between "That would not look good on my wall" (fond memories of an evening show, wonderful trip to the museum/theater...) and "The work speaks for the artist's intent yet does not mean anything to me" and "I was not engaged by the exhibition/performance".

Okay back to spreading the word of "that which manifests as what appears as red sponge balls"... ;)
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Postby Jonathan Pendragon » 03/02/13 09:23 AM

But we are bringing alien ideas and that is rarely accepted without resistance. Plato's Allegory of the Cave normally gets a Cliff Note rendering that focuses on the shape of reality. That's just a small part of the story. Most of the allegory is about having once seen what reality looks like, how do you explain it to those whose only reality are the shadows on the cave wall? Worse, how likely are they to reject your enlightened perspective. The audience's defense mechanism reacts to something it does not understand by deconstructing the mystery as best it can. Presenting a piece as a challenge encourages this reaction. The leap to art comes from a performer's belief in their insight regarding the absolute mystery a piece can evoke and not the mechanics.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/02/13 07:42 PM

Not sure about us presenting alien ideas to audiences. IMHO we work inside a theatrical frame which insulates anything we say or do from the world outside the show. This is similar to writers who put their stores in "long ago" or "far away" or "once upon a time". A matter of ecology for stories, audiences and writers.

Okay, how about a dialog from Plato's Republic as patter for the Histed Pom Pom item?

"Now take a line which has been cut into two unequal parts, and divide each of them again in the same proportion, and suppose the two main divisions to answer, one to the visible and the other to the intelligible, and then compare the subdivisions in respect of their clearness and want of clearness, and you will find that the first section in the sphere of the visible consists of images. And by images I mean, in the first place, shadows, and in the second place, reflections in water and in solid, smooth and polished bodies and the like: Do you understand?

Yes, I understand.

Imagine, now, the other section, of which this is only the resemblance, to include the animals which we see, and everything that grows or is made"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy_of ... vided_line
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Postby Jonathan Pendragon » 03/03/13 06:16 AM

Yea, divided line, after illumination and before the cave (if the url was for me, it was unnecessary, I know Plato intimately... ). Now let's discuss the brechtian aspects of Sweeney Todd.
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