The Science of Harry Potter: The Spellbinding Science Behind the Magic, Gadgets, Potions, and More!

The Science of Harry Potter: The Spellbinding Science Behind the Magic, Gadgets, Potions, and More!

by Mark Brake, Jon Chase


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How does magic in J. K. Rowling’s universe work? Finally, the scientific secrets of the Harry Potter universe are revealed!

The insanely popular Harry Potter books and movies have brought the idea of magic and sorcery into mainstream. Modern muggle scientists have uncovered explanations to the seemingly impossible, including answers to such questions as:

  • Will we ever see an invisibility cloak?
  • How hazardous is a flying broomstick like the Nimbus 2000?
  • How has medicine made powerful potions from peculiar plants? (Felix Felicis, anyone?)
  • Can scientists ever demonstrate Wingardium Leviosa, or the flying power of a Golden Snitch?
  • Is it possible to stupefy someone?
  • And many more!

Often perceived as a supernatural force, magic captivates and delights its audience because of its seeming ability to defy physics and logic. But did you ever wonder if science has any explanation for these fantastic feats?

The Science of Harry Potter examines the scientific principles behind some of the spells, scenes, and games that Harry, Hermione, Ron and Dumbledore love best. Author Mark Brake, whose The Science of Star Wars was a knockout success, has found the answers to satisfy the curious spirits of muggles everywhere. Here is a perfect Harry Potter gift for anyone obsessed enough to stand in line to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Witches and wizards and even muggles everywhere will be fascinated by the merging of this improbable realm and real science!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631583056
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 01/22/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 137,114
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mark Brake developed the world’s first science and science fiction degree in 1999. He also launched the world’s first astrobiology degree in 2005. He’s communicated science through film, television, print, and radio on five continents, including for NASA, Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum, the BBC, the Royal Institution, and Sky Movies. He was one of the founding members of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute Science Communication Group. He has written more than a dozen books, including Alien Life Imagined for Cambridge University Press in 2012. Mark also tours Europe with Science of Doctor Who, Science of Star Wars, and Science of Superheroes road shows.

Jon Chase is a freelance science communicator with an honors degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in communicating science. After producing a science rap video for NASA about astrobiology in 2008, the Guardian identified him as “the next big thing” in education. Jon has worked with the BBC, the Open University, the Science Museum, the Royal Society, and the Royal Institution. He tours Europe with Science of Doctor Who, Science of Star Wars, and Science of Superheroes shows.

Table of Contents

Part I Magical Philosophy

What Lies behind the Study of Astronomy at Hogwarts? 3

Did Nature, Like Magic, Conjure Something out of Nothing? 8

What Is the Real Story of the Quest for the Sorcerer's Stone? 12

The Dream of Alchemy: Where Do Base Metals Truly Turn into Gold? 17

Merlin: How Does Legend Compare with Canon? 21

Who Really Was the Last Great Wizard? 27

How Would Hermione's Time-Turner Work? 31

Does Science Have Limits, Like J.K. Rowling's Limits of Magic? 35

What Kind of Prophecy Is Possible? 39

How Do Voldemorts Death Eaters Rate on the 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism? 43

Part II Technical Trickery and Paraphernalia

Could Scientists Be the Modern Wizards? 55

Can Scientists Demonstrate Wingardium Leviosa? 59

How Hazardous Is a Flying Broomstick? 65

Can Muggles Make a Motorcar That Flies? 70

Could Science Develop Moody's Mad Eye? 75

When Will Muggles Develop Moving Portraits? 78

How Could You Make Your Own Marauder's Map to Skip Class? 82

How Would We Fashion a Working Weasley Family Clock? 86

Can Technology Replicate the Reductor Curse? 89

How Could a Wizard Make Great Balls of Fire? 95

Part III Herbology, Zoology, and Potions

Is the Bezoar a Real Antidote? 103

Devil's Snare: What Are the Real Life Flesh-Eating Plants? 107

How Has Medicine Made Powerful Potions from Peculiar Plants? 111

The Psychology of Sex: Do Real-Life Love Potions Work? 117

Have Spy Agencies Used Their Own Version of a Veritaserum Potion? 120

Will Humans Evolve Legilimency and Occlumency Like Snape? 124

Could Evolution Produce Its Own Fluffy? 128

Where and When Might Harry Find Dragons? 131

Why Would Pigeons, and Not Owls, Make a Wizards Best Friend? 135

Is It Possible to Stupefy Someone? 139

Why Are Death Eater "Pure-Bloods" Wrong about Breeding and the Gene Pool? 144

Part IV Magical Miscellany

Platform 9¾: Are There Real Hidden Railway Stations in London? 151

How Could You Make a Room of Requirement? 155

Are Force Fields the Muggle Version of Shield Charms? 159

Could Age Lines Ever Become a Real Technology? 163

Will Society Develop Arithmancy? 169

Could Muggles Master the Memory Transfer of a Pensieve? 174

Can Muggles Develop Their Own Form of Teleportation? 178

What Technology Is the Muggle Version of the Horcrux? 182

Is It Just Wizards and Witches Who Wave Wands? 186

Lumos! How Can a Wand Give off Light? 191

Will We Ever See an Invisibility Cloak? 197

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