Circus Science

No one can ignore the laws of the physical world, least of all performers who seem to flout them.

By Carl Zimmer|Thursday, February 01, 1996
Number theory and neuroscience are probably not the first things that come to mind when you contemplate the circus. Yet along with the clowns and the fire-eaters, there’s a place for science under the big top. Performers and their coaches have to know, either instinctively or consciously, what the laws of physics and biology will permit them to do; moreover, a surprisingly large number of scientists are themselves circus fanatics, and a few are even performers...

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on, please log in.