Muggle Researchers Put The Science Of Harry Potter's World To The Test

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Listen up Potterheads! Muggle student scientists from U.K.’s University of Leicester have been researching some critical matters: do the spells and potions that Harry Potter and his fellow wizards use really need magic to work or do they have a scientific basis? The research papers, “Gillyweed – Drowning with Gills?” and “Revealing the Magic of Skele-Gro,” published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics in May, investigated the magical plant and potion that helped the wizard in the popular book series.

Gillyweed, as you may recall, is the Mediterranean plant that played a key role in helping Harry win the Triwizard tournament in the The Goblet of Fire. Consuming the plant enabled the wizard to grow gills and breathe underwater. Given the magical universe of Harry Potter, it is futile to argue about the instant appearance of the gills and webbed feet and hands. Instead, the researchers decided to focus on whether the gills would have worked the way they were portrayed.

Based on the gill’s appearance in the movie, Rowan Reynolds and Chris Ringrose, who conducted the research, estimated them to be about 60cm² in surface area. The budding scientists then took into account the oxygen content of the Black Lake where the tournament was held and the amount of the gas Harry would have needed to breathe underwater. Their calculations revealed that for the gills to work, the young wizard would have needed to breathe twice as fast as an average human for the entire hour — something that is not feasible, at least for a muggle.

There is also the fact that for the gills to function, Harry would have had to open his mouth to let the water in and out. But the young wizard kept his mouth shut through most of the competition.

This led Reynolds and Ringrose to conclude, “if Harry were to open his mouth to allow water into his throat and out through the gills, it may be plausible that he could breathe underwater. However, without doing this, it is simply not plausible that he could extract sufficient oxygen for survival.”

Hence, science alone could not have been able to save ‘The Boy Who Lived’ — he definitely needed magic!

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The second study, “Revealing the Magic of Skele-Gro” investigates the potion that restored the wizard’s arm bones. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the protagonist broke his arm while trying to catch the golden snitch in a crucial Quidditch game against the Slytherin team. To make matters worse, Gilderoy Lockhart’s attempt to heal the arm caused the bones to vanish altogether. Luckily, Madame Pomfrey had a solution — A foul tasting magical potion called Skele-Gro.

This time, researchers Leah Ashley, Chris Ringrose, and Robbie Roe focused on the energy requirement necessary to regrow the bones in a body. In the book, it took Harry 24-hours to restore his hand. While this was excruciatingly slow for the wizarding world, it is 90 times faster than real-world bone generation. According to the scientists, regrowing bones at this rapid rate would reqiure an extraordinary amount of energy (133,050 kcal) within the span of 24-hours.

They, therefore, concluded that “Skele-Gro potion must definitely contain some unexpected magical properties for it to be able to supply such a huge amount of energy within such a short period of time.”

Hence, even if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some Gillyweed or skele-gro potion, you will require some magic to get them to work!

Resources: Sciencedaily.com, guardian.com, dailymail,co.uk

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806 Comments
  • babygirl10
    babygirl103 months
    I LOVE THE HARRY POTTERS MOVIES WOO HOOO!
    • hermiones_lover
      Harry Potter Is The Best Movie Series Ever
      • sagecallioa
        sagecallioa5 months
        I love them all but I have to say my favorites are the 2nd and 5th and my favorite character is Luna Lovegood and Neville!
        • pokekid45708
          pokekid457086 months
          Love Harry Potter the 4th is better then the 2nd.
        • hotdogkid23
          hotdogkid237 months
          im on round 2 book 7 and am going to read it again and again
          • sagecallioa
            sagecallioa5 months
            I finished the seiris last year in 4th grade and I want to read them again but I just got the cursed child book lol
          • ravenwing
            ravenwing7 months
            I am on the fifth cook but I can only read the illustrated version and it is postponed for next year.
          • arceuspokefan
            I ❤️ harry potter!I am reading the fourth book andd it is sooooo goooood!
            • cocoquinn
              cocoquinn10 months
              I got a acceptance letter for my 12th bday and I was so happy lol. Then we went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at both the universal studios is the us. And I was so excited. I got to meet Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. My parents played ALOT of money but it was so fun. Oh yea and the Hogwarts castle lights up at night :) ANDDDDDD I got the Draco Malloy wand and cloak...like I said...ALOT of money.😛😛
            • coolish
              coolish10 months
              Honestly... I don't really like this series. Not that the author is bad, but I just find Harry Potter rather boring.
              • edwardhp101010
                HARRY POTTER IS BRAVE