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Were medieval magicians experimental scientists?

Back to the birth of science

By Philip Ball   January 2016


The Book of Magic: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment, edited by Brian Copenhaver, Penguin, £30

Speaking to David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins fretted about the title of his new children’s book. “It is called The Magic Of Reality,” (see Duel on p26) he said “and one of the problems I’m facing is the distinction between the use of the word magic, as in a magic trick, and the magic of the universe, life on Earth, which one uses in a poetic way.” “No,” Attenborough reassured him, “I think there’s a…

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