The Science of Harry Potter

The Science of Harry Potter

How Magic Really Works

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781440650994
  • 368 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


Behind the magic of Harry Potter—a witty and illuminating look at the scientific principles, theories, and assumptions of the boy wizard’s world, newly come to life again in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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.

• An ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice 

From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Science of Harry Potter

The Science of Harry Potter

Written by: Roger Highfield


“Animated by Highfield’s enthusiasm for the extraordinary, The Science of Harry Potter is an enjoyably indirect survey of modern science.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Far-ranging . . . Enlightens Harry Potter’s magical realm, but also the magic taking place in labs and classrooms in our own world.”
—Science News 

“He has interviewed the world’s best Muggle scientists to identify the explanations behind everything from the Mirror of Erised to the Invisibility Cloak . . . A great introduction to a whole variety of issues.”
—Simon Singh, The Observer

“A wonderful hook for a wonderful book . . . as one reads The Science of Harry Potter it is impossible not to become intrigued.”
—Orlando Sentinel 

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Table of Contents


Part I

Introduction: The Science of Magic

1. Broomsticks, Time Travel and Splinching
2. How to Play Quidditch without Leaving the Ground
3. The Invisibility Cloak, Sorting Hat, and Other Spellbinding Apparel 4. The Mathematics of Evil
5. Owls, Snails and Skrewts
6. Magizoology
7. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor beans

Part II


8. Stars, Mystic Chickens and Superstitious Pigeons
9. The Greatest Wizard
10. There be Dragons. Really.
11. The Potions Master
12. The Origins of Witchcraft
13. The Quest for the Philosopher’s Stone
14. Belief, Superstition and Magic
15. The Magic of Science

Glossary of Muggle Science, Potter Magic, Oddments snd Tweaks