The Magic of Reality

May 25, 2020 0 comments

There's a famous saying; that a book on science is like a jar of secrets behind the magic of our universe; this book by renowned biologist Richard Dawkins testifies it; a wonderful introduction to all the natural sciences; aimed primarily at young adults.

In 2009, theoretical physicist Venki Ramakrishnan won the Nobel Prize in chemistry despite having transitioned from physics to biology thirty years prior. In a television interview he revealed that his interest in multiple sciences has helped him further his career.

The point is, this 272 page book is special; because there is probably no clearer introduction to science than it. Questions from every fundamental science whether astronomy, biology, geology, physics, psychology or chemistry all have been answered in great detail.

Comedian Ricky Gervais, creator of The Office says, "I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am!"

Physicist Lawrence Krauss writes, "I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate."

Bill Gates has also praised the book, calling it, "engaging, well-illustrated science textbook offering compelling answers to big questions, from how the universe formed to what causes earthquakes."

richard dawkins stephen hawking the magic of reality book review

The opening chapter is the most important part of this book; that is because it distinguishes between three kinds of magic we are used to.

First, what we call supernatural magic or mystery. The second magic as seen on stage or illusion. The third kind is the magic of reality which is unfortunately least appreciated.

The whole purpose of the book is to show that truth is even more beautiful than popular fantasy. Next to the magic of reality, the other two magics, although to some extent, entertaining to see or hear, become cheap by comparison.

Throughout the book, Richard has narrated stories from the past, myths with which our ancestors, in their naivety, have mistaken the seemingly natural phenomena as supernatural.

For example, there is a creation story from Central Africa in which the great God Bumba felt a terrible pain in his stomach, due to which, he vomitted the sun, the moon and the first human beings.

After each made-up story is told, genuine scientific facts are revealed behind the mysteries in a comprehensive manner; through questions, guided by logic and reason, verified with evidence.

As an evolutionary biologist Dawkins explains that there was no first human. In fact all the other animals also did not just pop out of the blue. They are interconnected and evolved over many many stages.

Towards the end of the book, Richard Dawkins has pinpointed that despite making numerous advances in science and technology, there are plenty of people who reject some myths selectively but on the other hand accept other more beloved myths.

He pleads his readers to adapt a more scientific outlook on life. He has shown in the book that the magic of reality is wonderful; wonderful as well as real; wonderful because it is real.

In one sentence, this book is "science unfolded in a simple, logic way from nuclei of atom to cosmos". To really admire how all the different sciences work in symphony in order to give rise to life and existence you must read this book.

Also see: A Brief History of Time


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