Dr. Rebecca Lai presents "Chemistry, Harry Potter Style" at Sunday with A ScientistJune 16, 2013, at UNL's Morrill Hall.
Students to mix potions with reality in new Harry Potter-themed chemistry class
Daily Nebraskan News Article November 21, 2011 Written by Justice Jones
Featuring CNFM Professor Rebecca Lai
Mandrakes, elder wands and butterbeer. One would not expect to hear these three words used outside of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series, especially in an honors chemistry class.
But in University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Rebecca Lai's "A Muggle's Guide to Harry Potter's Chemistry" class, students can expect a lot more than the usual chemical lab.
When picking a science course, many students, especially nonscience majors, tend to drift away from the chemistry or physics courses because they can be the less "entertaining" classes. Knowing this, Lai sought a new way to encourage more students to sign up for a university chemistry course.
"I really want students to learn science in a broad way, so I combined two of the things that I know best, Harry Potter and chemistry," Lai said.
Chem 192H will be offered for the first time during the spring semester as a prototype. It will be a 15-week course that takes the world of Harry Potter and applies it to everyday life.
Lecture topics in ‘A Muggle's Guide to Harry Potter's Chemistry':
- Invisibility cloak and invisible ink
- Food science: dementors and butterbeer, fizzing whizbees
- Oculus reparo
- Elixir of Life
- Plants: willow, holly, yew, elder
- Potions: Beautifying Potion, bruise-healing potions, Bubotuber pus, Sleakeazy's hair potion
- Fireworks, Fire Protection Potion and Erumpent Horn