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- The Equilibrium of Magic by Michael W. Layne - FictionDB
We relax in the knowledge that even if we don't happen to understand why the world goes round or how a TV works, somebody does. Conversely, this must be a very confusing time for Muggle-born wizards! They are old enough to realize that their wishes can sometimes make a difference, despite what everyone around them says. For Muggle-born wizards, early magical experiences typically express their deepest hopes and fears. Harry's breakthrough magical experiences often protected him from bullies such as "flying" up to the school roof when chased by Dudley and his gang 7 ; he tried to find natural i.
In any case, for all three of them, wishing successfully would have created a different empirical experience of the world from that of their adult teachers and guardians. What confused feelings there must be when magical children get their first letter from Hogwarts! On the one hand, everything in their lives that feels crazy and unnatural is finally explained. On the other hand, discovering that magic is real is one heck of a challenge to everything they've been taught to believe. It must be liberating for them to find out they're not crazy but that physical laws just don't apply to them.
It changes their view of those who have raised and taught them. They, mere children, are right, and the adults who protect them are wrong, creating a separation that is not only physical but also, in some sense, existential. That's a relief for poor Harry, who is glad to see the back of the Dursleys, 12 but is it such a relief for those from loving homes?
Because mysterious forces govern the world of magic; they are dark, whimsical, and terribly unsympathetic. For every magical camping tent, there is an enslaved house elf. No wonder that, as a child, Neville Longbottom showed so little capacity for the magical thinking that would have called forth his magical talent. Poor wizards! Rowling tells us that a magical child is recognized at the moment of birth, their names jotted down by an enchanted quill. They learn that yes, wishes do sometimes come true, and also that it is difficult to control which do and which don't.
For them, the journey to adulthood is fraught with more danger than we Muggles can imagine. They will dwell in the nightmare world of magical thinking forever, and to survive there they have to develop control. That's where wizard science comes in. Just before those dangerously moody teen years, young wizards are whisked off to a lonely fortress where they can be taught to manage and focus their powers in a safe place where mistakes can be prevented, or at least corrected. Verifiable, testable knowledge and precise skill in applying that knowledge are so critical to their survival, there's little time left over for the liberal arts.
Through the study of wizard science, the raw emotional power of wishes is channeled into categories such as Arithmancy, Charms, Transfiguration, Divination, Potions, and practical compilations like Defense Against the Dark Arts C. There is especially great emphasis on science in the sense of definition 7: "skill, esp. Young magic users are taught the importance of precision and the consequences of sloppiness. And so, wizards may not comprehend or obey a Muggle's physical laws, but wizards definitely have science; it's safer that way.
In fact, given their potential for mayhem, they probably developed the scientific method rather earlier than the rest of us.
Ancient shamans and priestesses may well have actually been wizards and witches, sequestering themselves and any young talents from temptation and risk, secretly experimenting with their powers and learning what does and does not work, telling superstitious Muggles that their magic was the work of gods. Young witches and wizards are instructed to imitate and repeat words, gestures, and thoughts that have been used by other wizards for a thousand years or more.
Even prehistoric wizards must have found magical ways to record what they learned and pass it on; a Pensieve may be the oldest kind of book. Innovation is possible like the Half-Blood Prince with his sprig of peppermint 21 , but not encouraged in the curriculum before the NEWT-level classes. They even use Latin words in their spells! Certainly there are other magical traditions, elsewhere in the world, with different practices and beliefs.
Yet all are likely to be conservative; a Chinese wizard couldn't safely pronounce " Wingardium Leviosa ' but I suspect he uses an ancient version of Chinese in his own incantations. Despite this conservatism, however, there is evidence of adult scientific exploration, which enters into the realm of definition 2, "systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
Weasley collects Muggle plugs. I imagine that research wizards will be found poring over scrolls and books, discovering conflicts between one authority and another, and experimenting their way toward a resolution a dangerous business; think of Luna Lovegood's mother, who died during such an experiment Many of them must publish, and much of what is published will be read by a people raised to respect the importance of reading the instructions. Evidently, there is also strong market demand for new ideas; inventions abound, which requires some understanding of magical principals, beyond simple proficiency at applying rote patterns.
Entrepreneurial wizards and witches like Fred and George Weasley develop disposable pre-packaged spells for the less talented wizard; creating something as innovative as a scripted, on-demand daydream goes beyond the applications which are taught in classes at Hogwarts. There is a hint that innovation is not entirely absent from the Hogwarts curriculum. In Horace Slughorn's NEWT-level potions class, for example, true success demands more from the students than just following a recipe, which leads to only mediocre results to Hermione's chagrin Instead, the superior results achieved by the Half-Blood Prince 26 show that creative experimentation is an important part of success in potions.
Still, from the point of view of a Muggle-science enthusiast, it's all very practical: applied science. Even though wizards probe into the way magic works at the level of what they can make it do , they stop short of truly understanding the underlying forces that make magic work. It seems that wizards do not deeply seek "knowledge of the physical or material world" definition 2 as a Muggle scientist would define it, because knowing how aspects of magic function cf. Golpalott's Third Law doesn't tell you anything about why.
Where is the pure science? Isn't someone studying why it all works? Identifying a Unified Magical Field Theory? Do they wonder whether magic springs from the earth itself, and wish to find out if it works in outer space? Surely, somewhere, once upon a time, there was a less fragmented, more powerful magic, perhaps back when Indo-European was the language of the day, and before magic wands were invented.
Does anyone but me wonder if something crucial has been lost along the path to refinement and control? Doesn't anyone want to know what it was, how it worked? I'm curious ; aren't they? Based on what we've seen so far, it doesn't seem so. In the Muggle world, this type of exploration takes place in universities, but we haven't heard anything about wizard universities, or even a mention of magical theory. It's interesting to speculate as to why not. Could it be that ancient wizards proved that the true nature of magic was unknowable, and everyone ever since has accepted this received wisdom and given up?
At the very least, this non-explanation would fail to satisfy the Muggle-born magic users, who must face questions from their un-Dursley families and indeed have questions themselves about how to bridge the gulf between Muggle and magical science. Evidently, Muggle-born magic users adapt quickly to their new world and revel in it, like little Dennis Creevey, delighted about his encounter with the beneficent giant squid that lives in Hogwarts' lake. It also may be that since magical thinking is an early stage of development for all humans, the transition from the Muggle world to the wizarding world isn't really all that hard.
You don't question your magic if it's something you've always believed in on the deepest level. That's plausible, but fails to explain--at least to me--why the theory of magic isn't taught. Schools love to teach about ordinary things if they can manage to do it in complicated ways; I myself remember an excruciating biology lesson on the biochemical process of breathing! It's also possible that far from being simple, magical theory is too complicated to teach at a secondary school level. In my Muggle experience, nature rarely gives up its secrets easily.
For one thing, you seem to need to know an inordinate amount of math which isn't even taught at Hogwarts, unless there's algebra in Arithmancy. In our own world, few Muggles have tried to understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and when they do they have reported unpleasant side-effects, including headaches and existential angst. We respect them for it; they are rewarded with prestigious prizes and proudly pictured on dormitory posters. Wouldn't wizards also celebrate the rare genius among them who can bring them closer to a fundamental understanding of the nature of their universe?
At least their work would be touched on in History of Magic, along with those boring goblin wars. No, even a very complicated theory of magic would not be so completely lacking from the Hogwarts curriculum. Why do we hear nothing about it? I suppose it's possible that ancient priest-wizards created a magical inhibition against probing too deeply into the source of magic, and imposed it on the race.
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Is it dangerous? If so, the goings on in the Department of Mysteries may have something to do with scientifically exploring or working with the theory and source of magic. We know that they have delved deeply into mysteries like time and death, creating Time-Turners and the mysterious veil. But we still don't know why the fundamental nature of magic would be a secret in the first place. And in any case, we can't forget that the Department of Mysteries is a government department. From what we've seen of their Ministers, it's hard for me to imagine that the Ministry of Magic is funding much in the way of pure research.
It seems most likely to me that the Unspeakables 32 will be working on things that are useful to governments, like weapons of mass destruction and tax collection spells. For example, Time-Turners are very practical inventions, useful for spies and policemen. Only J.
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The individual wizards we meet, even Hermione, seem remarkably incurious about their gift, and there may be a psychological explanation. It is also one of the more beautiful water projects for kids that involves the natural traveling of water along mediums. With a bit of explanation this could easily be turned into a lesson about water. Walking Rainbow — This was our attempt at the crawling colors experiment but when things went wrong it became a whole new and exciting water science lesson. Why does salt melt ice? This STEM activity dives into some great winter science as it explores how salt affects ice.
Live somewhere cold? Explore the Mpemba Effect in a spectacular way as you create snow. Bottle Crush is a project that will have kids asking to go outside on a cold winter day over and over again. Like magic, kids will learn how to crush a plastic bottle without touching it, astounding their friends and family.
The Equilibrium of Magic by Michael W. Layne - FictionDB
Slurpee Science Continue exploring the power of salt and water with states of matter changes with this experiment that ends with a tasty treat. Layered Lollipops is a fascinating study into density. Makes a beautiful experiment that smells amazing! Colorful Candy Science is a colourful experiment that explores water stratification that will keep kids captivated. Dissolving Candies is a great way to explore how dissolution in water and how temperature affects the dissolving process. Lego Gummy Mummies is a project that explores what happens when water is removed, also known as desiccation which is part of the mummification process.
This project can be scaled for use by kids of all ages. Ice STEM Projects explore all the amazing things you can do when water enters a solid state, better known as ice! The dinosaur ice sculpture is just too cute and kids will love engineering their own ice creations. Build a Water Wall for hours of entertainment. Although many think of this as a younger kid activity, if you challenge older kids to engineer a water wall it becomes a wonderful STEM project. Learn how to make a Magnifying Glass Out of Ice in this cool activity that is simple enough for all ages to try.
Engineer An Ice Lantern , perfect for the holidays. Engineer an Archimedes Screw and lift water using a device that dates back to ancient civilizations. Perfect to tie in your science and history lessons together. Chasing Hearts — This science experiment is like magic and creates a fantastic experiment that is like magic as you explore science and physics principles, all while playing a fun game! Magic Jumping Coin is an activity that is filled with gasps of surprise! Kids love to practice this one over and over again.
The Surface Tension of Water and liquids varies, explore the properties of these liquids in this activity. Keep it Dry — A slight of hand activity that kids of all ages love to take a turn at. Become a magical scientist! Water Refraction Experiment is a simple activity with mind bending results. Kids love the surprises revealed during this activity.
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Why Does Water Rise? Build a Leak Proof Bag that is filled with water and pierced through with tons of pencils? The Water Desalinization Project is a interesting activity that explores how to remove the salt from salt water making it safe to drink. This Fish Diving Activity is a neat way to explore how fish use air to help them move around underwater.