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Herge Creator of Tintin Presnts Professor Calculus – The Deaf Inventor


by Saad Malik


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Professor Calculus otherwise known as Cuthbert Calculus was one of the more humorous characters in the Tintin world. Known as Profesor Tryphon Tournesol (meaning: Sunflower) in French his character was hard of hearing which led to much hilarity as he misunderstood conversations. For example: “attachez votre ceinture” (fasten your belt) is repeated as “une tache de peinture?” (a paint stain). Calculus never admits to being deaf and insists he is only hard of hearing in one ear in Destination Moon. In the Moon book series Cuthbert acquires an hearing aid that brings about a change in chararcter as he becomes a more serious person.

In later adventures however Professor Calculus loses his hearing aid and once again is back to his old dear deaf self. Where he is often distracted but who invents many object s in the series. The more famous of these inventions are the one-man shark-shaped submarine, the moon rocket (looks very similar to a V-2 rocket!) and an ultra sound weapon (now being used in today’s modern warfare). Professor Calculus has a humanic side and tries to benefit the world with inventions such as a cure for alcohlism that makes alcohol taste horrible to the patient. In recognition of the contributions made by Caculus’ anti-drinking tablets made, General Alcazar appointed Cuthbert Knight Grand Cross of the Order of San Fernando with Oak leaves in Tintin and the Picaros.

Captain Haddock often hates these inventions (he being a bit of a drinker himself!) although Calculus often interprets this the other way around due to his deafenss. The Professor does have one weakenss it is if anyone (especially Haddock) calls him a goat. Or as Captain Haddock famously said in Destination Moon “acting like a goat”, the mild mannered Professor Calculus flew into a rage which borught about the very famous reply “Goat, am I?”, which to Tintin fans is legendry.

Cuthbert Calculus is a fervant beliver in dowsing, and carries a pendulum for that purpose. It is hard to believe but Calculus occasionly comments that he was a great sportsman in his youth, with a very athletic lifestyle. In flight 714 he demonstrates quite badly his former love of the french martial art savate which leaves the reader highly amused.

Calculus first appears in Red Rackham’s Treasure and borught an end to a long search for a mad professor type which had led to the creation of previos character such as Dr. Sarcophagus in Cigars of the Pharoh and Professor Alembick in King Ottokar’s Sceptre. The character was inspired by the famous inventor of the bathyscaphe, Professor Auguste Piccard.

Source by John Helios

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