I currently live in Manchester and have read a lot in the newspapers about a “miracle material” called graphene. I was therefore interested to read that a grant has been awarded for a research project on “Magical thinking: the history and theory of magic” (Grant winners, 26 November). In the 1970s as a chemistry undergraduate at the University of Oxford, I came across a visual joke: a photograph of a student kneeling before scientific apparatus and praying, “Please God, make this experiment work.”
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