Friday, May 11, 2012

Who is the funniest scientist?

A movie you need to see: Aardman's The Pirates! Band of Misfits (the British title is better: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists). This is as good as Aardman's best work, better than Chicken Run, better than anything Pixar has done since WALL-E, better than whatever else you're doing this weekend. Do you want to talk about funny jokes? This movie has funny jokes. Ever heard of DAVID TENNANT? What if I told you he was playing CHARLES DARWIN in this movie? Are you a fan of absolutely beautiful stop-motion character animation? Sounds like you need to check out this movie.

I'm going to assume everyone reading this is now planning the rest of their lives around The Pirates! Band of Misfits, but if you have already seen it and are still here, here's a discussion topic. The film's creators seized upon an inherent truth that had never occurred to me: Darwin is a funny scientist. But is he the funniest scientist? If not, who is? (A similar thought experiment: who is the funniest U.S. President? Lincoln is probably the most popular answer, and a very good answer, but surely Nixon is up there, as is Ronald Reagan. But I mean, they're all funny in different ways. Washington. Theodore Roosevelt. Basically all of the presidents whose likenesses are on Mount Rushmore. But why on earth IS that?) Okay, but anyway: who is the Funniest Scientist? Any ideas? Thomas Edison is the butt of a lot of jokes these days, but he isn't inherently funny, at least not to me. Carl Sagan is kind of funny, but not in that Mount Rushmore way. Sir Humphry Davy, who experimented with nitrous oxide, is a laughing scientist. Copernicus is a specifically UNfunny scientist, which is itself a little funny. All the ancient Greeks are kinda funny. But I'm still not getting that Rushmore iconographically-funny thing from any of these people. Any ideas?

I'm hard at work recording, composing, and going nuts with art and music. It's great!


James said...

Henry Cavendish?

Brian said...

Excellent suggestion. Yes, there's something uniquely funny about those late eighteenth-century British scientists (Cavendish, William Herschel et al.), especially when you take them as a group.