History of Medicine Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine I n 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy.
History of Medicine Early Days Almanacs have been a part of American life since its very beginning. One of the first books printed in English America was an almanac. By the mid-18th century the almanac had become, after the Bible, the book most likely to be found in ordinary homes. Produced annually, almanacs provided practical information and entertainment. The main feature was a calendar which showed the months and days, the positions of the moon and the planets, religious and civil commemorations, and weather predictions, sometimes decorated with an illustration of a seasonal scene or the sign of the zodiac. Medieval almanacs showed the church’s feast and fast days.
In the autumn of 1609, the Italian mathematician and astronomer Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to the heavens, deciphering the cratered face of the moon, the four satellites of Jupiter, and other previously opaque features of the heavens. When, in 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius, or Starry Messenger, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler responded with enthusiasm, praising the significance of Galileo’s observations with his own Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo, or, Conversations with the Starry Messenger (1610). To whom else did the stars speak in the early modern period?