Harry Potter’s powers really magical, defy science, finds research

  • PTI, London
  • Updated: May 30, 2016 18:14 IST
Harry Potter undergoes two magical biological transformations: eating Gillyweed to grow gills and drinking Skele-Gro to repair broken bones, which scientists say are not scientifically feasible in real life. (Instagram/harrypottercast)

Potterheads, a group of researchers have found out that the magical plant Gillyweed and Skele-Gro potion that Harry Potter makes use of, requires magic, for it defies scientific concepts.

In the world of Harry Potter, the boy wizard undergoes two magical biological transformations: eating Gillyweed to grow gills and drinking Skele-Gro to repair broken bones.

Students from the University of Leicester in the UK and McMaster University in Canada have put these medical practices to the test — and concluded that they are not scientifically feasible.

The first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, released in 2001. (Instagram/harrypottercast)

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry consumes Gillyweed, which allows him to breathe underwater by causing gills to grow on his neck.

The students estimated the gills to measure about 60 square centimetres based on their appearance in the film.

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Taking into account the oxygen content of the Black Lake and the maximum oxygen use of swimming, they then examined Harry’s weight, suggesting that if he had a normal body mass index (BMI) and the average height of a 14 year old boy, he would need to process 443 litres of water at 100 per cent efficiency per minute for every minute he was underwater.

This would mean the water would have to flow at 2.46 metres per second — twice the velocity of normal airflow and therefore far faster than he could inhale and exhale, causing him to suffocate.

Emma Watson played the role of Hermione Granger in the series. (Instagram/harrypottercast)

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry breaks his arm during a Quidditch match, a competitive sport in the wizarding world.

After his broken bones are removed, the matron Madam Pomfrey then gives Harry a dose of Skele-Gro, used for growing bones that are missing.

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Students aimed to find how the rate of normal bone growth compares to this accelerated growth, and how much energy Skele-Gro would need to provide in order to rebuild Harry’s broken arm.

Observing the timings in the chapter in which Harry is hurt, the students suggest he is healed within the space of 24 hours, Skele-Gro must have accelerated restorative properties.

Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe played Ron Weasley and Harry Potter respectively. (Instagram/harrypottercast)

The students calculated the time taken for Harry to regrow all the bones in his arm with Skele-Gro as being at least 90 times quicker than is possible in real world.

Skele-Gro should have the capacity to supply the additional 133,050 kilo-calories worth of energy required by the body to regenerate bones without causing any negative side effects — a power output of 6,443 Watt.

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The students concluded that Skele-Gro must indeed contain unexplained magical properties that allow it to hold such a vast amount of energy and apply it in a short period of time.

The research was published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics.

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