Prospecting Potter

Written by: admin

When we tell you that there are teaching moments in every film that could get a conversation started about science, we really do mean every film. We can prove it too. We’re not afraid to put our money where our mouth is: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Here’s a film about magic that takes place in a fantastical land where anything seems possible and Muggle science feels misguided and trivial… or so you thought.

Dr. Roger Highfield, the Science Editor of The Daily Telegraph and BBC Commentator, wrote a book in 2002 called The Science of Harry Potter that covers many of the “teaching moments” that could get a conversation started using the brilliant world of J.K. Rowling. Wondering how a flying broom could be a reality? There’s a chapter on “gravity-shielding effects.” Fiber optics can actually create a real life invisibility cloak. The Marauder’s MapElectronic paper that could help you get up to no good is right around the corner (though, come on, doesn’t this seem like it could already be an iPhone App?).

As technology evolves, it can feel like magic sometimes, and the wizardry we see on screen excites people into developing real-world electronic sorcery. So, as we move into the heart of Hollywood’s popcorn movie season, don’t forget that science truly is everywhere and big screen magic can inspire imagination and innovation.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.