A few weeks back Vittorio had a pop at Sigma-Aldrich for marketing fluorosulfuric acid-antimony pentafluoride as ‘magic acid’. Which got me wondering, just how common is magic in the sciences? And which disciplines are the most mystical?
So I checked. A search for ‘magic’ in titles of articles using Scopus pulls up 8,698 hits. That’s a far bit of magic. The Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov Telescopes (MAGIC) telescope accounts of 141 of them. And since we all know that acronyms don’t count as magic we’ll chuck them out. That leaves 8,557 magical articles.
Let’s also dismiss the arts, humanities and social sciences (not that I have anything against them, but a lot of their studies are investigating magical beliefs, and so they aren’t actually doing any magic). Which takes us to 7,223 articles.
I think we should also bin conference papers because they might have been written by a computer, and there’s nothing mystical about that (down to 6,467 now).
Which means the top 3 most spellbinding sciences are….
Medicine is the clear winner with 1,675 articles. Second there’s physics (and astronomy) with 1,397 publications, and coming in a close third we have chemistry with 1,348 papers.
So there you have it, medics do the most magic.
But hang on a second, there’s something not right here. I think there’s a secret coven tucked away somewhere. And I’m sure it’s made up of those trick solid state NMR spectroscopists and their MAS experiments, or Magic Angle Spinning to use the full incantation. These practitioners of the darker NMR arts manage 1,734 articles by themselves, whilst all the time disguised within the midst of medicine, physics and chemistry.
Who then is the master wizard, with 46 articles? It’s none other than the supposedly mythical Griffin.