Get your garlic and crucifix ready as we tackle Kathryn Harkup’s latest book Vampirology: The Science of Horror’s Most Famous Fiend.

Harkup is a chemist and science communicator, and an expert at casting a scientific eye on cultural phenomena, literature and film. Her debut, A is for Arsenic – about the poisons in Agatha Christie’s works – featured in our very first book club episode way back in 2015. In her latest title, Harkup delves into the world of Dracula and Nosferatu. She finds tales of folklore and fiction, searches for scientific explanations to historic accounts of vampirism and asks the question whether, technically, vampires could exist.

We talk to Harkup about watching Buffy reruns and Hong Kong’s hopping vampires, and find out what it’s like to investigate a myth with science.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

If you’d like your own copy of Vampirology, you can find it on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s bookshop or

In the next episode we’ll talk about Science in Black and White: How Biology and Environment Shape Our Racial Divide by medical anthropologist Alondra Oubré. An expose of racially biased research, the book debunks claims of inborn racial disparities – both old and emerging.

If you, dear listener, have any thoughts on Vampirology or know of a book you would like us to discuss in an upcoming book club, let us know in the comments below or tweet at us @ChemistryWorld.