From the Magic of Chemistry
to the Chemistry of Magic
#nosic8, Prullans, 7/6/2018
Miquel Duran @miquelduran
Institut de Química Computacional i Catàlisi
Càtedra de Cultura Científica i Comunicació Digital
Universitat de Girona
Project co-leader in Madrid @fblascoxyz
Current Girona team @judit__torrent @silviasimonr @pepduran
Let’s start with an enticing song!
Micro + mini CV
Miquel Duran (@miquelduran aka @quelet)
is professor of Physical Chemistry at the
University of Girona and a researcher in
Fostering Internet tools in science
communication, a few years ago a short
course in magic opened him an amazing
world to connect Magic and Science.
He promotes actively Open Knowledge, is
friends with MOOCs, organizes TEDxUdG
events - and rides an MTB in his leisure time.
His preferred quote belongs to "Le Petit
Prince": "Tu sais, quand on est tellement
triste, on aime les couchers de soleil". And
his own “This is me and my digital
Research in Quantum
Magic and Science,
What is a magician?
• An artist that plays the role of a magician (classic
• A university professor that plays (or does not play a
all) the role of a university professor (quantum
We like to comunicate science using low-
cost procedures in terms of time, energy,
money, ... And attention
• And we love to explain complex concepts in Science
(and Chemistry indeed) using metaphors,
analoges... And Magic of course
• Quantum mechanics
• EPR entangled pairs
• DNA (structure, mutations), proteins
• We think that dissemination/science
communication projects, and also education
innovation projectes, should be similar to hard-
research projects: 3 year, competitive, peer-
• They should give rise to salary rewards and taken
into account in hiring/promotion processes.
On Open Knowledge
• We advocate the use of Open Knowledge, Open
• We foster good communication skills by our Ph.D.
students – and all members of the Department of
• We try to make intelligent use of Internet tools.
• 2015 and 2017 meetings on Science, Magic, and
• 2016, 2017 and 2018 Summer Camp on Magic and
Science, targeted to high schollers and early science
• TEDxUdG and TEDxGironaWomen series of events
Magic and Science: the project
• Magic of the Periodic Table (2015)
• Magic of Food (2016)
• Magic of Color (2017)
• WeekDayRings (2017)
• Magic of Rubik’s Cube (2018)
• Magic of the Periodic Table revisited (2019, UNESCO IY)
• Collaboration with Dr. Fernando Blasco, Univ Polit
Madrid, maths professor and mathemagician.
Magic and Science?
• Magic useful to understand, engage with, and
promote awareness of, Science.
• Science explains Magic – and provides new effects
and creates new tools.
• Magic allows to improve Communication Skills
• Magic increases self-confidence: against fear of
rejection and fear of failure
• Secrets, Mysteries, and awe
A relevant note here:
• Let’s perform games and tricks where the
secret, if ever revealed, leads to a better
experience that attending the magic
• That’s what mathematics-based tricks are!
The Periodic Table of the
Elements of Yesteryear
Periodic Table being told while
solving a Rubik’s Cube
“Principes de la chimie” 1869
About your favourite Chemist
• A nice game where your favourite Chemist will help
us find a card freely selected by you.
• A classical Martin Gardner mathematics-based
• UNESCO International Year of the Periodic Table of
the Elements 2019
• 3-D PTE with cubes, tetris-like
• Connection between PTE and the Rubik’s Cube
• More adaptations and new magical tricks involving
the Table and the Elements