The Magic of Medicine: Harry Potter’s world of wizardry inspires exhibit coming to Geisel Library

From UCSD Reports

harrypotter.for susananddaniel

The UC San Diego Libraries have been selected by the U.S. National Library of Medicine to host “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine,” a traveling exhibit that sheds light on the Renaissance traditions featured in the Harry Potter canon. The “show” runs May 6 through June 16 at Geisel Library.

Making its second appearance in California, the exhibit includes materials from the National Library of Medicine’s collections — including six illustrated banners describing the practices (alchemy, herbology, astrology and natural philosophy) depicted in the world of wizardry created by Rowling. The exhibit will be accompanied by a series of lectures by UCSD faculty members.

• An opening reception will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 10 in the Seuss Room in Geisel Library with Potter-themed refreshments and entertainment. It will be followed by a 4 p.m. talk titled, “Harry Potter and the Magic of Books,” by Seth Lerer, dean of Arts & Humanities at UCSD.

• On May 17, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Biomedical Library Events Room, Pathology Professor Dr. Henry Powell will trace the development of medicine. His talk is titled, “From Beliefs and Spells to the Scientific Method: A Long, Slow Journey for the Art of Medicine.” Powell is a world authority on experimental neuropathology, and a former chair of the UCSD Academic Senate.

• On May 24, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Seuss Room, Literature Professor Stephen Potts will give a talk on “Harry Potter and the Secrets of Order: Knowledge and Power from Renaissance to Hogwarts.” Potts, who teaches classes on Harry Potter, young adult fiction, and children’s literature, will discuss the influence of the magical tradition on the scientific revolution and the ethical issues that surfaced, as knowledge became a real power for change.

• On May 31, from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Science & Engineering Library Events Room in the Geisel Library, Professor Ronald Graham, one of the world’s best known mathematicians, computer theorists, and technology visionaries, will explain the math behind magic in his talk, “Juggling Mathematics and Magic.”

Graham, who calls himself a “mathemagician,” is a skilled magician and juggler — ex-president of the International Jugglers Association. He is also co-author of “

Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks


If you go

What: National Library of Medicine exhibit/lecture series, ‘Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine’

When: May 6-June 16

Where: Geisel Library, UCSD campus

Cost: Events are free and open to the public

Register for lectures:

Exhibit background:

Magical Healing Potions

Learning various charms, spells and potions comprised the coursework for Harry Potter and his fellows at the

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry


• Mandrake Restorative Draught was particularly useful to students when The


was released from the Chamber of Secrets and attacked numerous members of the Hogwarts community. These individuals suffered complete and total paralysis, almost mirroring death, and were restored to their normal state of being when

Madam Pomfrey

gave them this potion created by

Severus Snape



plants raised by

Professor Sprout

and the second-year students.

• Blood-Replenishing Potion tops up the blood levels of the drinker after blood loss from injury or otherwise.

Arthur Weasley

was required to drink the


every hour, after being bitten by


, until an antidote for the


was found.

• Skele-Gro is a dreadful-tasting


that causes vanished or otherwise lost bones to regrow in a notably slow and painful process. The potion comes in a large bottle and smokes as it is dispensed.

• Wiggenweld Potion is a healing


with the power to awaken a person from a magically-induced sleep. A prince once used this potion to awaken a princess who had been given the

Draught of Living Death

by the


Leticia Somnolens

  1. The prince first put some of the potion on his lips and then kissed the princess.