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Scribner (2015-10-27)
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From the holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers

by Kaplan, Matt

From the popular author of The Science of Monsters and a regular contributor to The Economist, comes an accessible scientific inquiry into the mystical places and magical objects - like the philosopher's stone, love potions and the fountain of youth - from lore, legend, and comic books.

Can migrations of birds foretell our future? Do phases of the moon hold sway over our lives? Are there sacred springs that cure the ill? What is the best way to brew a love potion? How do we create mutant humans who regenerate like Wolverine?

In Science of the Magical, noted science journalist Matt Kaplan plumbs the rich, lively, and surprising history of the magical objects, places, and rituals that infuse ancient and contemporary myth. Like Ken Jennings and Mary Roach, Kaplan serves as a friendly armchair guide to the world of the supernatural. From the strengthening powers of Viking mead, to the super soldiers in movies like Captain America, Kaplan ranges across cultures and time periods to point out that there is often much more to these enduring magical narratives than mere fantasy. Informative and entertaining, Science of the Magical explores our world through the compelling scope of natural and human history and cutting-edge science.

Matt Kaplan is a science journalist who regularly contributes to The Economist and Nature. He has also written for National Geographic, New Scientist and the Wall Street Journal. When not chained to a desk in London, Kaplan travels the wilds of the world as part of an expedition group, and he is currently living in the Boston area as a Knight fellow at MIT and Harvard.

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In Science of the Magical, Matt Kaplan takes us on a journey spiced with the wonders of myth, history and art, leavened with impeccable research, endlessly fascinating. And the result is both a compelling read and a deeply thoughtful exploration of the world around us and the ways we seek to understand it.

Quote: Deborah Blum

Science of the Magical is a relevant, fascinating exploration of just how weird the world can be. I tell people about things I read in it at least once a week. In a world of bad news, it's refreshing to pick up a book that is filled with wonder, mystery, and joy, especially when all of that comes steeped in scientific realism and evidence.

Quote: Maggie Koerth-Baker

Today magic is mostly a form of entertainment, but for millennia humans told magical stories to make sense of what they didn’t understand. This erudite, witty and highly original book explores the surprising natural phenomena behind dozens of supernatural tales of yore. Kaplan will not only enlighten and charm you, but will also change the way you think about what is science and what is magic.

Quote: Daniel E. Lieberman


Quote: Publisher

A wonderful exploration of the possible. Kaplan takes us on a journey into the myths and magic of days long gone and then looks to make scientific sense of these ancient ideas and practices.

Quote: Jeffrey Shaman

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