Ed Ripley Believes in Magic

by Monica Hoel
“You know that moment when I look you in the eye and reach out my hand…and with no words spoken you reach out to shake my hand? That’s a bit of magic. Magic is all around us all the time; we just take it for granted.”

Ed Ripley is an engineer at Y12 National Security Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He’s a man with degrees in nuclear physics and metallurgy and more than 31 patents to his name. But if you really want to see him light up, ask him about magic.

He is headed to the Magic World Championship in July of 2022 (his second trip to the event) and he’s part of an elite team that is so selective, they didn’t even fill all the available spots for the U.S. team because they only wanted to send the very best. He has performed in Las Vegas and Seoul, South Korea. He recently performed with Ben Thompson and Lance Burton at The Unconventional Convention in Kentucky. And in January 2022 he’ll be back in Las Vegas.

He got started with tricks he bought at a magic shop with money from his grandmother. “She gave me $100 to go buy whatever I wanted at Bob Hutchins Magic Shop in Jacksonville, Florida. And I’m still using many of those tricks in my act today.”

Ed likes to stick with the classics, but puts his own personal spin and story on something familiar. His personal favorite is a routine with cups and balls, and that’s what he’ll be doing at the World Magic Championship in 2022.

He was recently chosen to participate in a very selective and very secretive weapons program that enlisted the country’s best and brightest engineers. But, ironically, the biggest secret he had to keep while participating in that program was the fact that he would have to slip off for a couple days to perform on the Penn and Teller show. “The television executives explained that if word got out about my appearance on the show I’d have to pay production costs: as much as a quarter of a million dollars.”

Ed kept his secret, and was actually performing on stage at the 2019 Magic World Championship in South Korea when the show aired.

You can see his performance on Penn and Teller here, and you can get a glimpse of the act he’s doing at the 2022 championship here. And, you can enjoy a conversation with Ed on WEHC’s The Duck Pond Wall podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1679-the-trap-of-nostalgia"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg" alt="Morgan Galen King, E&H Class of 2001" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2094,2055/9554_The_Spine_Of_Night_Filmmaker_Morgan_Galen_King.rev.1615991868.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2094" data-max-h="2055" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1679-the-trap-of-nostalgia">“The Trap of Nostalgia”</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Morgan King’s new full-length animated feature is a throw-back to a popular 1980’s classic, but he was careful not to be limited by the past as he created something he wanted to stand up in the present. <a href="/live/news/1679-the-trap-of-nostalgia" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/3470-christina-mitchell-is-creating-new-worlds-at-nasa"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,800,800/15705_Christina_Mitchell.rev.1713296709.webp 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,800,800/15705_Christina_Mitchell.rev.1713296709.jpg 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,800,800/15705_Christina_Mitchell.rev.1713296709.jpg" alt="Woman smiling in front of flag and space suit" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,800,800/15705_Christina_Mitchell.rev.1713296709.jpg 2x" data-max-w="800" data-max-h="800" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/3470-christina-mitchell-is-creating-new-worlds-at-nasa">Christina Mitchell is Creating New Worlds at NASA</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Christina has found her way to <a href="https://science.nasa.gov/mission/hubble/multimedia/online-activities/the-lost-universe/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Lost Universe</a>.</p><a href="/live/news/3470-christina-mitchell-is-creating-new-worlds-at-nasa" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/3296-ed-morgan-is-the-new-director-for-coa"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1728,1835/15263_IMG_5245.rev.1706794548.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1728,1835/15263_IMG_5245.rev.1706794548.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1728,1835/15263_IMG_5245.rev.1706794548.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1728,1835/15263_IMG_5245.rev.1706794548.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1728,1835/15263_IMG_5245.rev.1706794548.jpg" alt="man in a hat smiling" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1728,1835/15263_IMG_5245.rev.1706794548.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1728,1835/15263_IMG_5245.rev.1706794548.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1728" data-max-h="1835" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/3296-ed-morgan-is-the-new-director-for-coa">Ed Morgan is the New Director for COA</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Ed Morgan has a new hat.</p><a href="/live/news/3296-ed-morgan-is-the-new-director-for-coa" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>