Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine


The Class of 1945 Library at Phillips Exeter Academy will host the National Library of Medicine’s traveling exhibit, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine from December 1, 2014 through December 18, 2014.

An opening reception and lecture will take place Wednesday December 3rd from 7-8pm. Dr. Art Greenberg, Professor of Chemistry at UNH, will present a talk titled “The Hope and Symbols of Renaissance Medicine and Alchemy (Or Understanding of Harry Potter’s Allusions to the Philosopher’s Stone).”

The exhibit and lecture will be located in the Academy Library’s Rockefeller Hall and are free and open to the public.

Exhibit description from the National Library of Medicine:

“In 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power.

This exhibition, using materials from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards of Harry Potter, but also the historical thinkers featured in the series.”

This exhibition is brought to you by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Curated by Elizabeth J. Bland, History of Medicine.  Dr. Greenberg’s lecture is part of the UNH Speakers Bureau program.

The Library is hosting the display to coincide with the Lamont Gallery’s Strange Days: The Uncanny, the Curious and Quite Possibly Magical on exhibit from November 5 – December 13, 2014.

For more information please contact Beth Rohloff, Reference & Outreach Librarian at: brohloff@exeter.edu or 603-777-3568.