Matt Kaplan is a science correspondent and non-fiction contributor to multiple publications. He was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship which he used to study the sciences at MIT and folklore at Harvard. Part of the result of that combination is Science of the Magical, which postulates that even the strangest myths of the past have a germ of truth. Publishers Weekly’s review notes: “Steeped in contemporary science fiction and fantasy, Kaplan’s blend of modern and ancient myths reveal an ever-present human concern with control over life, death, and the elements.” Our Monday evening event offers both readers some possible insights into the science behind stories from mythology to SF, as well as an assortment of intriguing source material for aspiring writers.
Can migrations of birds foretell our future? Do phases of the moon hold sway over our lives? Are there sacred springs that cure the ill? What is the best way to brew a love potion? How do we create mutant humans who regenerate like Wolverine?
In "Science of the Magical," noted science journalist Matt Kaplan plumbs the rich, lively, and surprising history of the magical objects, places, and rituals that infuse ancient and contemporary myth. Like Ken Jennings and Mary Roach, Kaplan serves as a friendly armchair guide to the world of the supernatural. From the strengthening powers of Viking mead, to the super soldiers in movies like "Captain America," Kaplan ranges across cultures and time periods to point out that there is often much more to these enduring magical narratives than mere fantasy. Informative and entertaining, "Science of the Magical" explores our world through the compelling scope of natural and human history and cutting-edge science.
We all know "there's no such thing as monsters," but our imaginations tell us otherwise. From the mythical beasts of ancient Greece to the hormonal vampires of the "Twilight" saga, monsters have captivated us for millennia. Matt Kaplan, a noted science journalist and monster-myth enthusiast, employs an entertaining mix of cutting-edge research and a love of lore to explore the history behind these fantastical fictions and our hardwired obsession with things that go bump in the night. "The Science of Monsters" tackles the enduring questions that arise on the frontier between fantasy and reality. Did dragons really exist? What inspired the creation of vampires and why are we so drawn to them? Are we close to making "Jurassic Park" a reality by replicating a dinosaur from fossilized DNA? Kaplan takes readers to the forefront of science, where our favorite figures of horror may find real-life validation.