John Dee – “ Celestial Necromancer ” and Science Advisor to Queen Elizabeth I
Ideas surrounding perception are perhaps the most important links between magic and science . The works of one of the earliest scientist-magicians , John Dee , provides a perfect example of this linkage . Dee was an astronomer , mathematician , cartographer , alchemist , spy , and “ celestial necromancer .” He was also a scientific and medical advisor to Queen Elizabeth I .
One of Dee ’ s most important achievements was his translation of Euclid ’ s Elements , bringing geometry into the modern world . Geometry is the branch of math that is closest to providing a framework for describing how perception can alter observation . For example , projections and cross-sections allow us to think about how things appear when they are viewed from different perspectives . ( see digaram on bottom of page 15 ).
Our perception and interpretation of the world is significantly impacted by how we choose to look at it . This is a fundamental principle common to both modern science and modern entertainment magic .
In one of Dee ’ s most important collaborations – and one that many scientists will be familiar with – is a map which Dee collaborated
20 with Mercator on in 1595 , as shown in the center image .
It represents one of the first projection map views of the
Dee ’ s translation of Euclid Elements
Mercator , Gerhard , 1512-1594
“ Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio “ From Mercator ’ s posthumously published atlas , Atlantis pars altera