The new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 trailer has just been released, and Pottermania is in full swing. Trying to justify surfing Potter fansites when finals are just around the corner? Never fear – we have just the educational procrastination you’re looking for. The NLM has an online exhibit entitled, “Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine” to keep you entertained.
Like Harry’s professors, 16th-century Swiss naturalist and physician Konrad Gesner appreciated the knowledge gained by studying nature. His most famous work, Historiae Animalium, is considered one of the first examples of modern zoology. Unique to its time, the book included not only Greek and Biblical descriptions of animals, but also information Gesner had gained from dissection. Like many of his contemporaries, the naturalist believed that basilisks and dragons existed and he catalogued their medicinal uses alongside those of their reptile cousin, the snake. For example, Gesner wrote about dragon fat’s success against creeping ulcers and viper flesh’s effectiveness in theriac, a poison antidote and cure-all commonly used until the late 19th century.
Okay, so we’ve really been looking all week for an excuse to post the HP7 trailer. Mischief managed.