Professor Calculus

Article

December 6, 2021

Tryphon Tournesol, usually called "Monsieur Tournesol" then Professor Tournesol, is a fictional character, a great scientist and inventor. He is one of the main characters in The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé.

Biography

Professor Calculus is an elderly man, almost deaf, with a bald head, mustache, goatee and small round glasses. He is very often dressed in a rather old-fashioned green frock coat and a round hat of the same color. With a personality that is both amiable and brilliant, although dreamy, eccentric and sometimes irritable, he is one of the central characters of the Tintin series, both for his heterogeneous inventions (rocket, submarine, etc.) and for his the comic dialogues engendered by his deafness, especially with Captain Haddock as his interlocutor. He joined Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock from the album Le Trésor de Rackham le Rouge, where he built for them a prototype of an explorer submarine in the shape of a shark, in order to find the treasure sought from Le Secret. by La Licorne. In this album, he is not yet a Professor but only designated as Monsieur Tournesol. At the end of the album, he gives Captain Haddock the Château de Moulinsart with part of the income acquired through his invention to thank him for this first adventure. This event binds the two men: Tournesol settles in the castle and builds his laboratory there. The scenarios for five of the following six albums then focus on Professor Tournesol. In the diptych The Seven Crystal Balls / The Temple of the Sun, Tintin and the captain are taken on an adventure in South America to find the professor, kidnapped by a people descending from the Incas, for having committed what they consider to be a sacrilege. The professor is placed in the center of the cover design of the first album, swept up in the air by a ball of lightning circling around him. In Objectif Lune and We walked on the Moon, he invents the rocket that will send, at his suggestion, the heroes to the satellite. Finally, in the Calculus Affair, the heroes search for him again after his kidnapping by the Syldavian and Borders secret services, who are trying to take possession of a weapon of mass destruction of which he is the inventor. While The Red Rackham's Treasure, The Seven Crystal Balls and The Temple of the Sun essentially use the Professor as a comic spring or as a way to advance the plot without participating in it, the albums Objectif Lune and then On a Marche sur the Moon add to the depth of the character. Until then, a simple genius but isolated inventor, he showed himself capable of carrying out the greatest scientific adventure of the century, by leading a team of scientists, engineers and technicians, from the design of the spacesuits to the realization of a atomic engine. It is moreover in Objectif Lune that he is called "Professor Tournesol", instead of "Monsieur Tournesol" in the three adventures where he had previously appeared, although the first mention of the title of "Professor" appeared in The Temple of the Sun. In Objectif Lune, he stings one of the most beautiful anger of the series, where we discover that calling him a zouave is one of the worst insults that can be done to him, to him who gave so much for the realization of the rocket and for science in general. Tournesol is very hard of hearing (although he often overlooks his disability and claims to be "only a little hard of an ear") and usually only hears the last syllables of sentences spoken to him, which generally leads him to understand a different word but with a sound similar to the one that was spoken. This is the source of many crazy dialogues, especially with Captain Haddock who per

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