Magic and science may seem like strange bedfellows, but in this captivating and far-ranging book, respected science journalist Roger Highfield nimbly illustrates how the two disciplines are actually deeply intertwined in the Harry Potter books. Like Highfield's The Physics of Christmas, The Science of Harry Potter teases out the scientific explanations and surprising factual foundation of marvels and mysteries-only this time instead of reindeer and Santa, Highfield trains his eye on dragons, broomsticks, and all the wonderful oddities of J. K. Rowling's enchanted world. Highfield uses the amazing elements of the Harry Potter books as a springboard into discussions of fascinating scientific issues. He delves into the archaeology of witchcraft, tracing the origin and uses of wands and cauldrons as revealed at ancient European dig sites. He speculates on the astounding connection between hallucinogens and flying broomsticks and the bizarre drug-taking practices of medieval witches. The potions and charms that Harry has so much trouble replicating in Snape's class are in fact grounded in the science of ethnobotany. Here too is a plausible account of the cutting-edge physics that explains the invisibility cloak and the genetic engineering behind the creation of Fluffy the three-headed dog. |
As Highfield reminds us, "wizard" actually means wise man-and wizardry and science were closely related fields before Newton. As enlightening as it is delightful, The Science of Harry Potter sheds light not only on Harry Potter's magical realm, but also on the magic that is taking place in labs and science classrooms in our own "muggle" world.
This book is not authorized, prepared, approved, licensed, or endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any other individual or entity associated with the Harry Potter books or movie. Harry Potter is the registered trademark of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.