The Science and Medicine of Harry Potter

Discovery Core Experience: I&S Course

Science and Medicine of harry potter bannerB CORE 115

60-Second Syllabus: The Science and Medicine of Harry PotterIndividuals and Societies Icon

About This Course: 

Have you ever wished for a wand that could make an enemy disappear? Have you dreamed of flying across the sky on your Nimbus Two Thousand seeking the golden Snitch? Have you longed for an Invisibility Cloak so you could eavesdrop on a conversation or get the answers to a final exam? This course explores how the magical world of Harry Potter aligns (or does not) with the rational laws of science and medicine. We will investigate topics as variable as flying cars and broomsticks, time travel, magical creatures, potions, the origins of witchcraft, and how magic became science. In the process, we will learn how many things in science from the experimental method to the theory of gravitation to the ethics of modern science and medicine originated in magical philosophies. We will also learn how the fantastic world of Harry Potter can illuminate some of the most interesting work researchers struggle with today as they continue to produce astounding knowledge about the natural world.

Professor Laura Harkewicz (She/Her/Hers)

Image of Laura HarkewiczAbout Professor Harkewicz: 

  • B.S. Resource Management and Conservation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.A. American Studies, Michigan State University
  • Ph.D. History (Science Studies), University of California, San Diego


  • Office:  The Truly House
  • Email:
  • Mailing:  Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA  98011-8246

"Learning is not just about uncovering meanings, but also about making new ones through interaction with people and things." -Professor Harkewicz