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SciPop: Where Science Intersects Pop Culture

A series of talks about science in movies, books, and games.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Among Us II

Yellow-orange phoenix creature

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Among Us II


Title:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Among Us II

Speaker:  Rebecca Lai

When: November 7, 7:00pm 

Location: Adele Hall Learning Commons

Description: There are animals in our world with "magical properties" like the fantastic beasts in Harry Potter's world. While augureys are known to predict rainfall, there are equally powerful weather-forecasting and earthquake-predicting animals among us. And like wizards strategically utilize demiguise hair to make invisibility cloaks, our scientists utilizing scorpion, bee, and snake venom for cancer treatments and incorporate snail secretions in anti-aging face creams. This presentation will provide a comparison between several notable fantastic beasts in Harry's world and a few of our more magical earthly creatures.

Rebecca LaiDr. Lai received her B.S. degree in Biochemistry from California State University, Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the Department of Chemistry at UNL in 2007. She developed an undergraduate chemistry course titled "A Muggle's Guide to Harry Potter's Chemistry" in 2012. She has since developed a wide range of Harry Potter-themed education and outreach activities, including a "Harry Potter x Science" After School Program for elementary and middle school students.

Online Alchemy Exhibits

For thousands of years, alchemists tried various chemical techniques to transmute metals, produce miraculous cures for diseases, and extend the human lifespan. In the process, these early chemists made several genuine discoveries from medicines to useful chemical compounds to new elements. In many ways Alchemy was a "stepping stone" to many modern scientific disciplines including chemistry, anatomy, and nuclear physics.

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