Taking complex fluids into a magical world

Inspired by the ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ exhibition at the British Library, The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership and Edinburgh Libraries joined forces to deliver some magical classes and demonstrations for muddles (non-gardening folk) at the Hogweed’s School of Botany & Magical Horticulture.

For one night only, local garden wizards and witches got the change to attend an Alchemy class where they learned to create their own baby boggart (made from slime), discover how light can interact with different potions in spectacular ways (fluorescence with tonic water, photochromism with a special dye solution), and how a magnet can make an ordinary looking potion become alive (ferrofluid solution).

We received about 100 student wizards; they also got the chance to attend drop-in activities which included experimenting with the devil’s snare (using corn starch to demonstrate the viscosity of non-Newtonian fluids), putting thoughts into a pensieve (created using visually dynamic rheoscopic fluids) and looking into their future using divination potions (made from a model dragon’s blood to demonstrate the Marangoni effect)!

Visitors also attended classes on Charms, Herbology, History of Magic Plans, Potions and Transfiguration.