Nicholas Flamel was a French scribe, best known for his work in alchemy, the transmutation of metals. Flamel was rumored to have created the mythological Philosopher's Stone, believed to be able to turn all metals into gold and produce an elixir granting eternal life.
Our Special Collections
These items can be viewed in the Harry Potter World Exhibit area.
Harry Potter's World
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (published in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) follows Harry to his first year at the Hogwarts, where the young wizard uncovers the villainous Lord Voldemort's plot to steal the Philosopher's Stone, a magical stone historical thinkers believed was able to turn all metals to gold and produce an elixir of eternal life. Still weakened by his failed attempt to kill Harry ten years earlier, Voldemort hopes that the Stone will help him resurrect his violent reign over wizards, humans, and magical creatures. Harry thwarts Voldemort's plan by possessing the magically-protected Stone first, simply by having no intention to use the Stone for personal gain. Even in his earliest adventure, Harry chooses the outcome that helps others despite the risks to his own life.
The History of Science
Alchemy, the process of transforming base metals, was often practiced in hopes of creating the coveted Philosopher's Stone. One of history's most famous alchemists, Nicolas Flamel, is featured fictionally in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as the creator of the magical Stone. In fact, many from Flamel's time believed that the 15th-century scholar and scribe had successfully created the Stone and, despite his death in 1417, the legend of his immortality continued. Although the Philosopher's Stone is now known to be a myth, Flamel and other alchemists attempts to create it by experimenting with metals influenced the development of modern chemistry.