Like a great many people my age, I was addicted to Harry Potter in my childhood (If I'm honest it's an addiction that remains to this day, but I need to at least pretend I've grown up). There's plenty of reasons I love the books- they're well-written, have a wonderfully imaginative story, and manage to seamlessly blend together uproarious fun, fast-paced action, and some truly important lessons - but I think the biggest was that I actually believed in them. I was only eight when the fifth Harry Potter book was published after all, giving me quite a bit of material to fuel a tireless imagination. I really and truly believed in those books, and spent much of my early summers waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter.
Eventually, though, I hit the age of 12 without the arrival of a single owl, and had to concede that I wasn't going to Hogwarts. This was only the first in a long line of disappointments, however. Brooms remained stubbornly earthbound no matter how sternly I told them "up!", chimneys led absolutely nowhere except the roof, and no matter how carefully I selected my makeshift wands, they failed to produce the slightest spark of magic. Over and over I tried to discover magic in the world around me and found nothing. By the time I hit middle school, I was well and truly a magic atheist.
When I got high school, though, a funny thing happened: I started finding magic again. With the advent of the iPhone I could suddenly communicate with any of my friends, no matter where they were in the world, while simultaneously searching the web. I took physics, and learned how we essentially harness lightning to power our lives. I learned to drive a car, moving myself around on the power of exploding gasoline. Over and over I found things I could only consider magical hiding in the objects I used regularly.
What I hadn't realized as a kid, you see, is that magic hides from us, disguising itself as the everyday. We don't have crystal balls, but doctors today can predict the eye color of babies in the womb or ensure that they don't have certain disorders during in vitro fertilizations. We don't have broomsticks or flying carpets, but we rocket through the air at dizzying speeds on a regular basis. We don't have time turners, but we can look into the night sky and see the universe as it was millions or even billions of years ago. Magic is all around us, embedded deeply into every single thing we do. We just call it science.
With excitement and optimism,