Thomson and Thompson
Captain Haddock
Jolyon Wagg
Bianca Castafiore
The Professor Calculus
General Alcazar
Professor Tarragon
Rascar Capac
Doctor Müller

Professor Calculus

The absurdly deaf, absent-minded genius inventor was here to stay, if only because his money allowed Captain Haddock to purchase Marlinspike Hall, his ancestral home, at the end of adventure.
Professor Calculus
Professor Calculus © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023

Test your knowledge


His nickname

In the French version of the Tintin adventures, Destination moon, the spies gives him a nickname: The mammoth. It is not an innocent allusion! They compare his intelligence to the colossal size of the animal.


The Professor's first name in French is Tryphon, and was based on a carpenter whom Hergé knew. His French surname, Tournesol, means sunflower. The combination of the two names sums up the Professor's character, as does the English version, Cuthbert Calculus. Both his appearance and his manner are an anachronism, and there is a subtle contrast between his behaviour and his highly advanced inventions.


We know nothing about his family except that he does not have a sister, which we learn in Tintin and the Picaros.
Calculs have never had sister - Tintin and the Picaros
Calculus didn't have a sister - Tintin and the Picaros © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023

His personality

Calculus is very absent-minded, hard of hearing, intuitive and very sentimental. He is capable of the most unexpected, and sometimes really weird, connections with reality, by simply using his pendulum. First and foremost he is a fine handyman, then a clever inventor. Calculus is intrigued by everything, including botany, physics, electronics and dowsing. He has all the traits of a scientist who is determined to make his ideas work. Self-assurance, and obstinacy verging on irritability.
Goat? Me? Calculus Destination Moon
"Goat?... Me?!..." Destination Moon © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023


Calculus's deafness is a frequent source of humour, as he repeats what he thinks he has heard, usually in the most unlikely words possible. He does not admit to being almost deaf and insists his hearing is only impaired in one ear.
Tintin and Calculs in The Red Sea Sharks
The Red Sea Sharks © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023
Calculus' deafness was also modelled on a real person, the lawyer Paul Eydt, who was Hergé's colleague at the newspaper Le Petit Vingtième and a source of jokes amongst the editorial team.


As well as being the scientist in the adventures, Calculus is also a rather poetic figure. A dreamer and secretly sentimental, the Professor brings an element of freshness and fantasy to the series.
Calculus offering roses to Bianca Castafiore in The Castafiore Emerald
The Castafiore Emerald © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023

First appearance

It was only in 1944 with the publication of Red Rackham's Treasure that his place in The Adventures of Tintin was assured. He offered his shark submarine to help in the search for Red Rackham's treasure.
First appearance of Calculus in Red Rackham's Treasure
First appearance of Calculus - Red Rackham's Treasure © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023
The absurdly deaf, absent-minded genius inventor was here to stay, if only because his money allowed Captain Haddock to purchase Marlinspike Hall, his ancestral home, at the end of adventure.

Calculus the inventor

His career makes a leap forward. Other inventions of his, apart from the submarine, include his nuclear-powered rocket, a new device for putting bubbles into soda water, a clothes-brushing machine, a collapsible wall-bed, motorized roller-skates and colour television. In The Calculus Affair he makes a potentially dangerous breakthrough in the use of ultrasonic sound. He has also some ability as a chemist (antidote to formula Fourteen, pill against alcoholism).
Calculus © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023


He is an outstanding scientist and a physicist. As already mentioned he has also some ability as a chemist. He has all the self-assurance and stubbornness of the scientist determined to see his ideas through. In the later adventures, Calculus is keen on devising inventions less dangerous for human being such as the rose "Bianca". Like other inventors, he is worried about the military use of his inventions.
Professor Calculus ultrasonic instrument - The Calculs Affair
Professor Calculus ultrasonic instrument - The Calculs Affair © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023
Another interest of the Professor is dowsing or divining, for which he carries a pendulum. The pendulum can be seen dangling out of Calculus's pocket in the hotel scene at the start of Tintin in Tibet and he puts it to use once more in The Castafiore Emerald and Flight 714 for Sydney.

August Piccard, the model

To create Tournesol, Hergé had a very precise model in mind: Auguste Piccard, an eminent Swiss scientist, holder of a chair at the University of Brussels and familiar with the Belgian capital. He remembered seeing his slender silhouette in the streets of Brussels in the 1930s.
Auguste Piccard - Calculus
Auguste Piccard - CC BY-SA 3.0 de
Some notable inventions
  • The pocket submarine in the shape of a shark - Red Rackham's Treasure.
  • A collapsible wall-bed - Red Rackham's Treasure.
  • The model rocket X-FLR6 - Destination moon.
  • The nuclear-powered moon rocket - Explorers on the moon.
  • The ultrasonic instrument - The Calculus Affair.
  • The pill which makes alcohol distasteful - Tintin and the Picaros.
  • The motorised roller-skates - The Red Sea Sharks.
  • A collapsible wall-bed - Red Rackham's Treasure.
  • The motorised roller-skates - The Red Sea Sharks.
  • The antidote to Dr. Muller's Formula Fourteen - Land of Black Gold.
  • The spacesuit - Explorers on the Moon.
  • The spacetank - Explorers on the Moon.
Professor Calculus's nuclear-powered Moon rocket in Destination Moon
Professor Calculus's nuclear-powered Moon rocket in Destination Moon © Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023
21 reviews
or to write a review.
24/09/2023 09:31 AM
10/09/2023 09:42 AM
the goat
09/09/2023 20:24 PM
calculus is the greatest of all time... so haddock is right
09/09/2023 20:10 PM
CALCULUS: ME?! A GOAT????!!!!!!!!!
24/08/2023 21:57 PM
12/03/2023 10:29 AM
This guy always gets angry when he gets called the goat.
But he is a genius.
21/12/2022 06:07 AM
he needs to work for borduria
20/12/2022 07:18 AM
14/10/2022 06:55 AM
Sailor Mercury would be perfect as Calculus's protege. Why not? They both have a knack for math and science.
29/09/2022 01:03 AM
He is well dressed. And herge did of copying Auguste Piccard.
31/05/2022 19:51 PM
bro needs a wig
21/05/2022 07:51 AM
Haddock: so you think im enjoying myself, acting the goat?!
calculus: *thinks hard*
haddock: you wont find me trying to cure loss of memory again!
calculus: *thinks even more hard*
A GOAT?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!..........ME??????!!!!!!!
06/04/2022 11:00 AM
Journey to the moon
Captain Haddock = You think I like to act like a Goat ?
Prof Calculus = ( Thinking )
Captain Haddock = I'm crazy attempt to cured your memory
Prof Calculus = Goat ? Me ! How dare you mention I'm an Goat !Unreasonable! don't just go away !Said sorry ! Quick !
Captain Haddock = Oh my ! He cured !
26/02/2022 06:14 AM
23/02/2022 21:23 PM
16/01/2022 23:49 PM
Acting the goat!
22/11/2021 08:10 AM
I like it
15/11/2021 09:38 AM
27/09/2021 07:00 AM
A GOAT?!? ME!??
07/03/2021 19:15 PM
Professor Calculus is my favorite character!
Show more reviews
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