In a convergence with the National Library of Medicine, the Orem Public Library is hosting a series of events about Renaissance traditions and philosophies which shaped modern medicine and inspired aspects of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Scholars from throughout the state will speak at the lbrary through August 13.

The exhibit, which accompanies the lecture series, is composed of a series of panels showcasing the works of great Renaissance thinkers such as Konrad Gesner, alchemist Nicolas Flamel and occultist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim. And yes, Potter-heads, Flamel was indeed a real person. Don’t bother containing your squeals of joy.

Illustrations of the Harry Potter series will be displayed alongside these panels.
Lori Stevens, library division manager, will speak about film history on July 19 at 7 p.m.. Stevens will explore the science of cinema that creates illusory magic. The event promises to be family-friendly.

This Thursday at 7 p.m.  in the Library’s media auditorium, local stained glass artist and certified alchemist Andrew Kosorok will introduce patrons to the field of alchemy and its modern legacy. Marketed as a “potions class,” the event holds the potential to make the most avid Potter fans despise their Muggle-hood. Kosorok is certified with the International Alchemy Guild, which has members in 23 countries.

Will Bagley, self-proclaimed “monsterologist,” will give a presentation called “The Bear Lake Monster and Utah’s other infamous aquatic outlaws” on July 29 in the Library’s storytelling wing. Utah’s history is riddled with fantastical myths akin to Scotland’s Loch Ness monster, Sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest or the giant talking spiders and unicorns of the Forbidden Forest.

On July 15, UVU’s own David Yells, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, spoke about the history of medicine and ancient herbal remedies. These remedies were the precursor to Rowling’s invention of wizard herbology, the practice that helped Potter and his wand-yielding pals understand the magical properties of plants.

According to a press release, funding for the Library’s “Harry Potter and Science” programs is provided by the Utah Humanities Council, which strives to “promote understanding of human traditions, values, and issues through informed public decision.”

More Info
What: “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine”
Where: Orem Public Library
Tickets: Free to the public