The Magic of Reality is a science book written by Richard Dawkins, aimed primarily at children and young adults. The book explains natural phenomena that occur throughout the known world and argues that a scientific understanding is superior to the belief in magic or the supernatural.
The book covers topics such as evolution, atoms, DNA, planets, light, and even science itself with relatable, interesting examples, so that readers can have a better understanding of the world.
The main themes of the book are the beauty of scientific explanations, the importance of scientific models, and the superiority of scientific understanding over supernatural beliefs. The book emphasizes that most phenomena can be explained through a combination of physics, chemistry, math, and logic, and the real explanation is often more beautiful than even the craziest myths we could think of.
Useful takeaways from the book include:
- Elements are created by planets, as they fuse atoms under heat and pressure.
- Looking at the spectrum of light is what allows us to learn about the universe, thanks to the Doppler effect.
- When you can’t explain something with science, don’t give up!
- The history of science shows that supernatural explanations aren’t necessary to explain the universe, and that the answers can be found through scientific inquiry.
Overall, The Magic of Reality is an informative and engaging book that encourages readers to embrace scientific understanding and appreciate the beauty of the natural world.
What I Liked
This book is an engaging example of scientific writing. I love the book’s push to really look at the magic, beauty, and novelty in the physical world around us. In a world where everyone is spending more and more and more time staring at novelty on their screens, it’s a worthwhile push. I love the examples the books highlights and the illustrations are all beautiful.
What I Did Not Like
The author (like most of Dawkins’ books) lets a little too much of himself into the book. Dawkins is one of the best scientific communicators and explainers ever. He really is that good of a writer. But, he also has a bit of a chip on his shoulder that interrupts the book in parts.