Fantastic discoveries that prove Berkeley is not in the Muggle world

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So if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you probably cried tears of joy this week when J.K. Rowling officially announced that she will be writing the screenplay for an upcoming series of movies based on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Quick SparkNotes on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”: Harry and the rest of the Hogwarts students learned about magical creatures from this textbook by Newt Scamander. In the Potterverse, Scamander wrote the textbook in 1927, 70 years before Harry’s time. We can’t help but be curious about what was happening in the Muggle world during that period (though we’re not entirely convinced that Berkeley is in the Muggle world).

Joseph Grinnell and the beginning of zoology. A little before 1920, Grinnell was the founding director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley.

Tracy Storer and the creatures of the Sierra Nevada. Storer was a zoology professor who was conducting a groundbreaking survey of Sierra Nevada birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians with Grinnell.

Herbert M. Evans, Katharine S. Bishop and the magic vitamin. In 1922, Evans and Bishop co-discovered vitamin E, a vitamin that is beneficial for skin, eyes and the immune system.

Joel H. Hildebrand and the elimination of the bends. In 1924, UC Berkeley chemistry professor Joel H. Hildebrand used helium and oxygen to create a mixture that could be used to explore the depths of ocean waters without experiencing the adverse effects of the “bends.”

Ernest O. Lawrence and the cyclotron. Lawrence’s creation of the cyclotron in 1931 allowed particle physics to be used to discover the structure of matter. This device significantly improved the treatment of diseases.

Herman J. Almquist and the blood biomolecule. In 1935, Almquist discovered and synthesized vitamin K, a biomolecule that is needed for blood to clot.

Melvin Calvin and the discovery of carbon-14. In the 1940s, Calvin’s Nobel Prize-worthy idea introduced carbon-14, which can be used to track how carbon moves through a plant.

If you love Harry Potter as much as we do, then you may also happily ponder whether Grinnell, Storer, Evans, Bishop, Hildebrand, Lawrence, Almquist or Calvin secretly collaborated with Newt Scamander.

See a full list of discoveries that UC Berkeley professors made in the past.

How do you feel about the upcoming movie series? Share with us in the comments!

Image source: Harshlight

Contact Karen Kwaning at [email protected]