Science on Screen: The Prestige with Peter McOwan

The second in the LML and Barbican joint Science on Screen series took place on 16 June with Professor of Computer Science Peter McOwan introducing one of his favourite films “The Prestige”.  A story of two rival magicians and their competitive quest for the ultimate trick, using the science of the day to amaze crowds.

With an audience of intrigued school children to a member of the magic circle, Peter described how at a young age magic first inspired him into the world of science after his father bought him a gift of a magic trick. By seeing the science behind it, his imagination was captured. Peter spoke of the maths and computing ideas that reveal how magic tricks work, going as far back to the Ancient Greeks. But it was not just how magic relied on Science, cognitive scientists can examine how the human brain is affected when being wowed by a magic trick.
Loyal to magicians though, Peter did not reveal all the secrets! For further information on some of Peter’s work and to learn a few tricks yourself visit
For more information on the LML and Barbican Science on Screen series and upcoming events please visit

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