The Science of Magic


During the day, Luigi Anzivino works as an educator, designer, and science communicator at a prestigious Bay Area science museum. Before switching careers and being seduced by sleight of hand, he received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA, and spent many years researching the brain, and specifically how we pay attention to our surroundings and learn new things. This gives him a unique perspective on why, as human beings, we are fooled by magic tricks even if we know, intellectually, that there is no such thing as real magic.

“You are fooled because your brain came to the wrong conclusions for the right reasons.”
— Jerry Andrus

Luigi’s Science of Magic lecture is a highly entertaining and interactive event, blending magic effects with easy-to-understand explanations of what’s going on in our brains when we are fooled by a magician, scam artist, or even politician! If you’ve ever felt “dumb” for falling for a trick, this lecture will help you understand why it is actually the smartest people who are most easily fooled, and which naturally-occurring “loopholes” can be exploited by magicians and charlatans alike.

The Science of Magic lecture is highly flexible, lasting anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes. Luigi has lectured small groups around a conference table, large audiences in University lecture halls, and rambunctious crowds in neighborhood bars. It will leave your guests feeling smarter than when they walked in, and buzzing with questions and ideas!

A brief excerpt from the Science of Magic lecture at the 2011 Technology Horizons Fall Research Exchange.