CMU welcomes Harry Potter generation

Paul DeCook takes a study break to read the Harry Potter’s World display at Tomlinson Library at CMU Tuesday morning.

Members of the so-called “Harry Potter Generation” who started school last week at Colorado Mesa University were welcomed by a familiar and interesting display about their fictional friend.

“Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance, Science, Magic and Medicine” opened this week in the lobby of Tomlinson Library. It is a traveling display presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences and the National Library of Medicine.

As most Potter lovers know, the books by J.K. Rowling are based loosely on historical science.

“I knew some of it was based on history, but I didn’t know what,” said Paul DeCook, a student and fan of Harry Potter. “I’m not going to get dressed up for a convention or anything, but I’ve read them all,” he said.

The display explains the historical references inside the series. One of the most well-known is the “Philosopher’s Stone.” This stone was believed to the invention of Nicholas Flamel, an alchemist who died in the 1417. Some believe he actually was able to create such a stone, causing a legend of immortality to forever be associated with his name. 

In the books, Harry and his friends learn to use the mandrake, a plant whose roots screamed like a baby, fatal to anyone who hears it. According to the display, the mandrake was documented in 1491 by Jacob Meydenback. Its roots do resemble the human figure.

Another subtle reference in the books include a sculpture of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim who wrote the “De Occulta Philosophia,” the display said. He, like Harry, struggled with the responsibility of knowledge and believed that one could study ancient magic in scientific terms. “If used selfishly, one risked their own soul,” he said.

The free display will end Oct. 6 during regular library hours. More information is available at





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