Harry Potter comes to Los Alamos this summer to reveal the magic in science and history. Exhibits, lectures and classes accompany a visit to Mesa Public Library, July 14-Aug. 9, by traveling exhibit "Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine," sponsored by the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health with support from the American Library Association.

The Los Alamos County Library System hosts the traveling exhibit, curated by Elizabeth J. Bland of NLM. Community partners include UNM-Los Alamos, Fuller Lodge Art Camp and the Bradbury Science Museum.

UNM Albuquerque campus Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Eliseo "Cheo" Torres will give a talk on curanderismo or folk healing traditions in Mexico and the Southwest at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 22, at Mesa Public Library. Photographs of curanderos at work will complement the traveling exhibition at Mesa Public Library.

Harry's first stop is the UNM-Los Alamos Library, where "Harry Potter's World: An Academic View of Science, Medicine, and Magic during the Renaissance" is on display through Aug. 27. In keeping with a university setting, the exhibit concentrates on "a more academic point of view," said UNM-LA Library Director Dennis Davies-Wilson. Davies-Wilson and UNM-LA Library staff member Emily Veenstra-Ott curated the exhibit.

"We chose to focus on scientific inventions, medical developments and practices, and philosophies and beliefs surrounding occult subjects such as magic and witchcraft during the Renaissance," Davies-Wilson said.

If more proof were needed that the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling are not just for kids, this exhibit provides it. Although the books are a fantasy about Harry's adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, his world has its roots in Renaissance magic, science and medicine. The exhibit includes a model of a Renaissance telescope, tarot cards, and other visual adornments, but this exhibit is not just a pretty face. Artfully designed information placards impart a cornucopia of facts about how science grew out of myth in the Renaissance.

Harry Potter fans will discover, for example, that the fictional wizard Nicolas Flamel and his experiments to create a Philosopher's Stone providing users with such gifts as immortal life are based on the real Nicolas Flamel. The search by Flamel and other alchemists for the Philosopher's Stone may have been fruitless, but their experiments were influential in the creation of modern chemistry.

Books on Renaissance science, magic and medicine are part of the visual displays. Other books from the library's collection about these subjects as well as books about the Harry Potter stories and the Harry Potter stories themselves are also on display for browsing and checkout.

For children, UNM-LA offers classes such as Potions 101 on Friday, July 30, and Crystals on Friday, July 23, providing the aspiring wizard and scientist with hands-on learning as well as fun. See all the classes for children and teens at UNM-LA or call Community Education at (505) 662-0336.

Contact: Bonnie Gordon (505) 661-4691), bjgordon@unm.edu