As you can see from my ever-growing collection of science magic tricks, the stunts or feats come in a wide range of effects. Some are classic magic tricks that are based on a scientific principle or optical illusion, while others are straight-out stunts. But all have in common a scientific principle that explains how they work.
Feats that are simply stunts that are based on scientific principles include: The Steel Straw and Floating Metal. These stunts are effectively presentations that first demonstrate a scientific principle that may be explained afterwards.
In the case of The Steel Straw, a drinking straw penetrates deeply into or even through an apple. How can a simple straw do this? It’s all due to air pressure. And in the case of Floating Metal, a paper clip floats on the surface of water where others fail to make this happen. The secret lies in surface tension, a property of water.
In The Bill Drop, you drop a bill before a spectator can catch it, even though it looks like it may be caught. The secret is simply physiology that’s combined with a little physics. The setup of the dropping bill is such that a person can’t react in time to catch the bill. The physics portion of the equation makes for a bill that drops too far in distance for a person to react in time. And the physiological part of the equation is that the distance that the bill travels is beyond the reach of a spectator before he can actually react and grab it. This one works as a bar bet - style challenge.
Among the tricks in the collection, The Paper Band is the only effect that magicians have performed on stage (as you would expect, they didn’t explain the secret). By making loops out of newspaper strips and cutting them in seemingly the same way, you end up with different results: 1) two separate rings, 2) one long ring and 3) two interlinked rings. The effect is based on a field that’s known as “topology.”
While The Tube has been performed by magicians on stage, this may be the first time that it’s been classified as a science magic trick. The secret relies on an optical illusion that warps the perception of spectators, which causes a tube that is actually holding items, to appear to be empty.
Boomerang is a classic beginner’s magic trick that is found in lots of magic sets for kids. Here, the way that you hold the boomerangs warps the spectator’s perception (when “measuring,” you’re actually comparing the smaller inner diameter of the top boomerang against the larger outer diameter of the bottom boomerang). It’s a convincing illusion.
Among the science magic tricks, the Card Trick is one that’s based on a scientific principle, however, you probably won’t want to explain its secret. This one, like The Paper Bands, works on its own as a magic trick and probably should not be explained. It actually works as a good card trick. Card Trick
The Wheel is based on a pure mathematical concept. As presented on the site, the effect is one that may be explained. However, if you choose to perform this one as a mentalism-style magic trick by using objects, such as coins, you will probably not want to offer a mathematical explanation.
The Math Prediction is based on pure mathematics and another trick that is often found and described in beginning magic books. A spectator can freely select a three-digit number and after performing a series of functions, results in the exact number that you predicted. Of course, the mathematical processes, which exploit a quirk in numbers and math, all lead to the same results, a single number. You can choose to perform this one as a demonstration that you explain, or a mystery that you don’t.
You can choose to perform science magic tricks as magic tricks or use them as opportunities to demonstrate and teach a scientific concept of mathematics, physics or chemistry. It’s all in what you want to perform and how you want to present it.