I did search this before asking the question but there are no satisfactory answers. Thing is everyone has got this mutual understanding that muggle and wizard universes are different and there is no point in discussing physics in magic. But thinking of all the highly intelligent muggle borns like Hermione and basically thousands of witches and wizards over centuries since the wizarding world existed, it seems highly unlikely to me that none of them ever tried to ponder over it or study about how exactly does it work?

Before coming to hogwarts they must have studied till grade 5 atleast which seems enough to me to instill some understanding of the laws of muggle world into them. So why did no one ever peep further into the realms of muggle technology, how it works? Why did no one publish a single book on how exactly magic is possible out of the thousands of massive volumes in the hogwarts library? It seems to me that the wizarding world has progressed too slow compared to its muggle counterpart and has explored far too less than the potential they hold with all the magic they have that they don't even understand yet!

OK that was long. Thanks for reading.

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    This is of course explored at length in Methods of Rationality. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 9:55
  • 1
    Hogwarts is in Britain. Your expression "Grade 5" has no meaning in the British educational system.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 10:15
  • Adding to this, it's not necessary that wizards had to blend in with the local muggles by going to school. They probably had their own ways of teaching their children before shipping them off to magic school. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 15:47
  • Yes but what about muggle borns?
    – Qwerty
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 15:54
  • 1
    Because most science is simply the muggle answer to magic. When words can kill, what's the point of a bomb or a gun? Or take quantum physics and how maybe one day you could transport from place to place...like wizards already can do and have done for thousands of years. Long story short, wizards don't need the vast majority of what 'muggle science' can offer. They have potions that REGROW bones overnight. Do they need medical school?
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


Because Muggle Tech Doesn't Do Well With Magic and Magic Isn't Logical

We know from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that Muggle tech doesn't work around Hogwarts, because Hermione mentions it in relation to "bugging" Harry. (that microphones and recorders don't work because of the amount of magic arond) In the same book (at least if memory serves) it's also mentioned that a lot of muggle technologies like electronics don't work/go haywire around magic/magical places, like Hogwarts. So there's no incentive for even a muggle-born wizard to learn much about things they wouldn't be interacting with. Even worse, I might not be ABLE to use certain things reliably, because my magic may interfere with the running of high-end electronics etc. That's not stated in the books mind you, but it seems like a logical possibility. But if I'm going to spend my time in high-magic environments like the Ministry and/or Diagon Ally, why bother? As an example, I could go look up everything I'd need to know about how to live as a tribesman in a 1100s Inuit village... but I'm never going to do that so why bother? I have a lot of other things I need to do!

The second reason Witches might not learn about muggle sciences is that they're not "wired" that way. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone one of the "super secure" defenses around the Sorcerer's Stone was a logic problem. Which Hermione describes as "Brilliant" because "A lot of the greatest wizards never had an ounce of logic"! Muggle sciences (biology, physics, engineering, really anything with math) RELY on logic. If A=B and A+1=3, then B=2 is the sort of fundamental thinking required. But if a great wizard doesn't need logic to be a great wizard, that implies logic is not a thing in magic. Which makes a certain amount of sense. By definition magic defies the laws of the natural world as we muggles understand them. It's obviously not a massive deficiency for a wizard to be logical (Hermione herself is proof of that) but it is a way of thinking that would be anathema to people who KNOW that putting a gram of powdered eelspawn into a potion will let them fly if they drink it, but 2 grams will make 30 bright-silver turtles climb out of your cauldron. There's no incentive to learning about logical things in such a society. Indeed, there might even be some sort of harm in learning about them, since you might be tempted to apply the same principles to magical situations where those rules simply don't apply.

Both of these goes without saying that there's no reason to learn about any structural engineering or anything like that, when you can just magic a thing in place. Why bother spending ages doing up blueprints and strength tests and everything else when you can just tac things together with a permanent sticking charm, add some levitation to anything that seems like it might fall, and strengthening solution to anything that seems like it could break? Eyeball-engineering+magic is going to be waaaay quicker than relying on actual physics, with the added bonus that you don't have to worry about some machine going haywire because the magical density of the area happened to exceed the machine's operating parameter!

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is a well thought-out answer and covers the 99% case, but why aren't there any weirdos who insist on trying to, say, use a clockwork stirring device for their potions or any other labour-saving device? (Technology doesn't necessarily mean electronics.)
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 19:05
  • I'd add that to work out that 1 g of eelspawn but not 2 g would take some sort of logical testing, especially for making of potions, working out combinations of words that work for a spell.
    – bob1
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 20:18
  • Granted that there's too much magic for electronics to work in and around Hogwarts, but that wouldn't be the case for most Wizarding homes. Doesn't Arthur Weasley tinker with electrical gadgets around his house?
    – Yehuda
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 21:12
  • 1
    @Yehuda Molly regularly enchants things, and the Burrow seems to held up by magic. I got the impression Arthur tinkers in the "garage" Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 21:34
  • Both science and Rowling's magic depend on principles like internal consistency, testability, repeatability and structure (otherwise you would not be able to format learning magic into an education system). As for how you describe logic, Quantum Mechanics does not adhere to that linear character, nor do many soft & hard sciences reduce to "if A, then B" (sociology, economics, quantum biology, etc.). Magic in HP is perhaps best described as a temporary suspension or alteration of the laws of physics, but still based on and bound by these laws. (e.g. a Glacius spell depends on thermodynamics)
    – Codosaur
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 4:43

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