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UTHSC News: Harry Potter’s Magic Connection to Real-Life Science on Display at UTHSC Library


First-year nursing student Mary Mayden says she grew up on the Harry Potter movies.

She may not have read the books, but she was excited when she walked into UTHSC’s Health Sciences Library around lunchtime Wednesday to work with friends on a group project and saw the new exhibit that ties Harry Potter and science together.

“I think it’s beautiful and creative,” she said of the exhibit. “It’s very whimsical.”

The exhibition, called Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine in Harry Potter’s World, is a traveling display from the National Library of Medicine. It shines a light on the real-world Renaissance traditions on which author J.K. Rowling based some of the magic in her popular fantasy series.

“This is a great way for us to introduce some history of medicine concepts in an engaging way,” said Jennifer Langford, an archivist and special collections librarian at the Health Sciences Library. “People of all ages have a very deep love for Harry Potter, and this exhibit is very popular wherever it goes.”

The display includes banners that detail the roots of the potions, monsters, herbology, magical creatures, and immortality concepts Harry Potter encounters during his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Visitors can learn about the topics’ connections to Renaissance traditions, such as alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy, that played a part in the development of Western science.

Read more at our UTHSC news site.