Spend your Halloween in the world of Harry Potter as Arizona Science Center transforms into Hogwarts for the day. You will be able to Trick-or-Treat throughout the Center, create your own Hogwarts crest, see and learn about owls, meet a real life Quidditch team, try ButterBeer, watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in our enormous IMAX® theater, and more! Come and join us to learn about the science that brings magic to life!
Did you know that in our world, the Muggle world, we are responsible for the magic that we see? Unlike those in the wizard world who rely on spells and potions for magic, magicians of the Muggle world rely on the ability to divert an audience’s attention. In order to divert an audience’s attention the magicians depend on very special assistants – the brain of each audience member.
There are experiments conducted by Daniel Simons of Harvard University and Daniel Levin of Kent State University that expresses how selective our brain is in how it focuses our attention.
One experiment involves people on a college campus getting asked for directions by a stranger. In the middle of the conversation two men carrying a wooden door walked in between the stranger and test subject and, after passing, the test subject was asked if they noticed anything different. Half of the subjects failed to notice that the stranger who they were originally speaking to had been replaced with someone totally different.
This experiment shows that in any visual experience we simply store a few facts as images and beliefs and create a perceived event in which we can in no way tell what was real or remembered.
Magicians rely on the brain’s tendency to selectively focus attention in order to allow for their tricks. Without being able to influence the attention of the audience, magicians would not be able to conceal the secrets behind their tricks.
Interesting stories like this and many more that link Harry Potter to science can be found in Roger Highfield’s book The Science of Harry Potter.