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The Science and Medicine of Harry Potter

August 12, 2011

Harry Potter’s magic, science and medicine explained in exhibit at UNT Library


Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine, an exhibit that explores the world of Harry Potter and its historical roots in the Renaissance is on display at Willis Library at the University of North Texas.

The exhibit continues through Sept. 2. Harry Potter is, of course, the hero of J.K. Rowling’s books about wizards and muggles and the battle of good versus evil.  The exhibit is in the Willis Library, Library Forum on the first floor, during regular library hours. There is no fee and members of the community are encouraged to visit the library to view exhibit.

According to the sponsor, the US National Library of Medicine:

IN 1997, BRITISH AUTHOR J. K. ROWLING INTRODUCED THE WORLD TO HARRY POTTER AND A LITERARY PHENOMENON WAS BORN. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power. This exhibition, using materials from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter’s world and its roots in Renaissance magic, science, and medicine.

Also, the website includes educational resources, including lesson plans for secondary students on “Genetic Traits” and “Boggart and Fear.”

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