Mr. Fish: Magic is Science (and Vice-a-Versa)

Mr. FishDo you remember when you first realized there was something funny going on with magic?

Magicians still seemed amazing and magical but seemed strangely constrained in their use of powers.

Magicians, you discovered, were apparently somehow limited by physical restraints — perhaps not as completely as you — but restrained nonetheless.

The Connecticut Post reports today on a physics teacher showing the science of magic to his students.

Some would quibble with the teacher's choice of tricks — no one appreciates the unnecessary exposure of commercial magic — but the aim is admirable and the exposure is limited.

The Post reports:

Marlee Figueroa, 9, pierced a balloon with a thin, foot-long needle. As Marlee pulled the needle and its tail of string through both sides of the latex orb, she and her Long Hill School classmates were stupefied when it did not pop.

Then Mr. Fish – part mad scientist, part circus clown, whose real name is John Lepiarz – let kids in on the secret.

During a program to demystify physics last week, he revealed that a barely visible piece of tape that the needle was inserted through circumvented the balloon's air pressure.

Mr. Lepiarz toured with the Big Apple Circus for seven years as a performer before touring the world with his two-person show, The Funny Stuff Circus. He has appeared on ABC and HBO but appears to really love the life of "mad scientist."

He also lubricated the needle with butter to reduce friction, another scientific concept he demonstrated and defeated during the 45-minute show.

"Mr. Fish" explained the interaction of momentum, inertia, and friction with a non-commercial effect.

Slowly moving a tablecloth caused the plates and water pitchers atop it to move with the cloth. Then, he yanked the cloth out from under the items, which remained stationary on the table.

He successfully did the same with student Matthew Stoll, 10, sitting in a chair on top of the table, telling students that they could remove a table cloth from underneath an elephant if they pulled the cloth just the right way.

"If I can pull the cloth fast enough, I can defeat friction," Lepiarz said, warning children that the trick is dangerous and should not be tried at home. "It was scary because it was high up, but it was fun," Matthew said.

The reporter overheard young Tyler Tice expressing surprise to learn "magic is science." Mr. Fish's desire is to teach students on a different level. "Our whole idea is to provide students with a visual image of a scientific concept," Mr. Lepiarz said.

"The whole idea is to break down the barrier that 'science is hard and I can't understand it.' The fundamentals of science are all around us in our daily life. "We can't, in 45 minutes, teach in depth scientific principles to a group of pre-K through sixth-grade students, but we can create an excitement for science."

Do not miss the very impressive web site featuring Mr. Fish and his partner Lisa Lou(a/k/a Lisa B. Lewis).

The two veteran but high-energy performers offer several programs suitable for schools or community gatherings.

Ms. Lou trained in clowning at the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Clown College, toured as an advance clown for the circus.

Her clowning and talent has taken her from Nagasaki, Japan to Atlantic City, NJ. She also worked to entertain hospitalized children as a member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit.

Their work is impressive but not only because of their talent but also the effect had on their audiences. Congratulations to these remarkable performers and educators.

Magic Magic News Magic Review

Education Science Clowns


Mr. FishDo you remember when you first realized there was something funny going on with magic?

Magicians still seemed amazing and magical but seemed strangely constrained in their use of powers.

Magicians, you discovered, were apparently somehow limited by physical
restraints — perhaps not as completely as you — but restrained
nonetheless.

The Connecticut Post reports today on a physics teacher showing the science of magic to his students.

Some would quibble with the teacher's choice of tricks — no one
appreciates the unnecessary exposure of commercial magic — but the aim
is admirable and the exposure is limited.

The Post reports:

Marlee Figueroa, 9, pierced a balloon with a thin,
foot-long needle. As Marlee pulled the needle and its tail of string
through both sides of the latex orb, she and her Long Hill School
classmates were stupefied when it did not pop.

Then Mr. Fish – part mad scientist, part circus clown, whose real name is John Lepiarz – let kids in on the secret.

During a program to demystify physics last week, he revealed that a
barely visible piece of tape that the needle was inserted through
circumvented the balloon's air pressure.

Mr. Lepiarz toured with the Big Apple Circus for seven
years as a performer before touring the world with his two-person show,
The Funny Stuff Circus. He has appeared on ABC and HBO but appears to
really love the life of "mad scientist."

He also lubricated the needle with butter to reduce
friction, another scientific concept he demonstrated and defeated
during the 45-minute show.

"Mr. Fish" explained the interaction of momentum, inertia, and friction with a non-commercial effect.

Slowly moving a tablecloth caused the plates and water
pitchers atop it to move with the cloth. Then, he yanked the cloth out
from under the items, which remained stationary on the table.

He successfully did the same with student Matthew Stoll, 10,
sitting in a chair on top of the table, telling students that they
could remove a table cloth from underneath an elephant if they pulled
the cloth just the right way.

"If I can pull the cloth fast enough, I can defeat
friction," Lepiarz said, warning children that the trick is dangerous
and should not be tried at home. "It was scary because it was high up,
but it was fun," Matthew said.

The reporter overheard young Tyler Tice expressing surprise to learn
"magic is science." Mr. Fish's desire is to teach students on a
different level. "Our whole idea is to provide students with a visual
image of a scientific concept," Mr. Lepiarz said.

"The whole idea is to break down the barrier that 'science is hard and
I can't understand it.' The fundamentals of science are all around us
in our daily life. "We can't, in 45 minutes, teach in depth scientific
principles to a group of pre-K through sixth-grade students, but we can
create an excitement for science."

Do not miss the very impressive web site featuring Mr. Fish and his partner Lisa Lou(a/k/a Lisa B. Lewis).

The two veteran but high-energy performers offer several programs suitable for schools or community gatherings.

Ms. Lou trained in clowning at the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey
Clown College, toured as an advance clown for the circus.

Her clowning and talent has taken her from Nagasaki, Japan to Atlantic
City, NJ. She also worked to entertain hospitalized children as a
member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit.

Their work is impressive but not only because of their talent but also
the effect had on their audiences. Congratulations to these remarkable
performers and educators.

Magic Magic News Magic Review

Education Science Clowns

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