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The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic…

The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works (2002)

by Roger Highfield

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» See also 16 mentions

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Who doesn't like Harry Potter? I suppose there must be some such person, but it is hard to criticize a book series that has youngsters eager to gobble up 700 pages, even if they were not as creative and entertaining as they are. If you have read some or all of the books, I'm sure that you noticed all the science they contain. No? Me neither. These are not science books - in fact, they are about as nonscientific as you can get. Yet Roger Highfield claims to have written his own 300 plus pages on the subject. Mr. Highfield is trying (successfully, I might add - I contributed my own fourteen bucks) to cash in on Pottermania. The relationship between his book and the original is extremely tenuous, and I found his excursions to be interesting but not very relevant to his promise to tell "how magic really works". The magic of Harry Potter does not require scientific explanation. ( )
  hcubic | Jan 27, 2013 |
Roger Highfield does a good job at taking the science behind the Harry Potter series and putting up against real-world scientific theories. ( )
  06nwingert | Feb 27, 2010 |
This book starts off slowly talking a lot of science and mathematics and you wonder, is this what it's going to be like throughout. But wait. It does get better. The writer eventually discusses the unique animals in Harry's world - Fluffy, hippogriffs, nifflers, - inferring that with the coming of gene manipulation such animals may one day exist. Potions are merely herbs, plants, and such that are used in their natural state while medicines are many times refinements of these same plants. Then there's Skele-Gro - that amazing elixir that will grow bones back. There is a Professor in NY who believes he understands how it works with special cells being activated... well you see what I mean. This book is full of "possible" explanations for the magical world of Harry Potter. ( )
1 vote cyderry | Feb 9, 2009 |
An exceptionally well-written book...if you forget the fact that it's about Harry Potter. The book deals only vary conservatively with Harry Potter.
However, once you leave that behind, the book is wonderful. It is concise enough that you can read short bursts of it and use it as a bathroom book, detailed enough that you can use it strictly for reference, and yet eloquent enough that it can be read all the way through without feeling like you're stuck in a high school chemistry lecture.
I truly wish that aside from his Harry Potter glossary he had included a more in-depth science glossary (let's face it, most of us aren't chemistry majors). But he did a fine job of thoroughly explaining most concepts and notable people...I really wish he would have explained what a meme was though, I had to look it up on-line. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 28, 2008 |
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To the three witches who enchant me: Julia, Holly and Doris
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I love the Harry Potter books, but maybe not for all the same reasons that you do.
If Newton had not, as Wordsworth put it, voyaged through strange seas of thought alone, someone else would have. If Marie Curie had not lived, we would still have discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium. But if J.K. Rowling had not been born, we would never have known about Harry Potter. That is why Master Potter means so much to me. Science may be special but Harry, as a work of art, is more so. Harry Potter is unique.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142003557, Paperback)

Can Fluffy the three-headed dog be explained by advances in molecular biology? Could the discovery of cosmic "gravity-shielding effects" unlock the secret to the Nimbus 2000 broomstick's ability to fly? Is the griffin really none other than the dinosaur Protoceratops? Roger Highfield, author of the critically acclaimed The Physics of Christmas, explores the fascinating links between magic and science to reveal that much of what strikes us as supremely strange in the Potter books can actually be explained by the conjurings of the scientific mind. This is the perfect guide for parents who want to teach their children science through their favorite adventures as well as for the millions of adult fans of the series intrigued by its marvels and mysteries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:00 -0400)

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A look at the scientific principles underpinning the magic of Harry Potter reveals some of the true magic behind science.

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