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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Nov 11, 2022

Richard Dawkins visits Google to discuss his book "The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True."

Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting a goddess swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back, and that earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary stories. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science.

Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, "The Magic of Reality" explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first human to walk the earth? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues, but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education’s most passionate advocates, has spent his career explaining the wonders of science for adult readers. Now he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world—and the universe beyond—that will entertain and inform for years to come.

Originally published in March of 2012.

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