An audio advent calendar

The New Humanist blog is running an advent calendar podcast, in which various people are asked what scientist they’d like to have a Christmas-style celebration around, and what invention from scientific history they’d most like to receive for Christmas.

First up is Stephen Fry, who made the interesting choice of Robert Hooke — I approve, he’s an interesting character — and all he wants for Christmas is an orrery.

You’ll have to listen every day. I’m going to be in there somewhere, and Richard Dawkins gets to be the Christmas eve fairy.


  1. amon says

    Given those two British treasures (Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry), I’m afraid you may have inaccurately applied the “fairy” label (:

  2. says

    What a great coincidence! I’m reading the Lisa Jardine biography of Hooke right now. I’ve always thought he got an overly-rough political drubbing from Newton. I heartily recommend the book to everyone.

  3. says

    What a great idea! I’ll use the chosen scientists at school leading up to the holidays.

    Here’s hoping for a few women in the list…

  4. catta says

    With all due respect to RD, I’d have preferred Stephen Fry on Christmas eve. ;)
    But hey, no wonder the two are kept as far apart as possible on the calendar — after all, it’s obvious that Stephen Fry is, in fact, God.

  5. gazza says

    I think we could indulge our wishes on this thread too??

    I’d go for William Smith who lived in my area of England. A self taught man who got into surveying for canals, he drew together his observations of strata and fossils to produce the first large scale geological maps in the early 19th century. It paid for a while because he could help determine the right places for mining but he died poor and not recognised almost until his death.

    And my present? A chunk of rock with some freaky fossils from the Burgess Shale. But I might start tinkering with it….

  6. Sili says

    Why am I so slowwitted? Amon beat me to it.

    Off topic, but since today is World Aids Day an acquaintance of mine is trying to raise awareness by featuring Neun und neunzig Luftballons on Deviantart. Among them I noticed this topical one.

    Lawrence Bragg.

  7. Marc says

    If it were somehow possible I would listen to Stephen Fry talking about about any subject under the sun, day-in day-out, all year long.

    The man is a marvel – his command of language, his erudition, his eloquence, his wit…
    He can transform the most boring subject into something one just HAS to listen to; but then again, nothing he talks about is really ever boring as such.

    So, I second what other Fry-fans, catta and Randy, have said here: I would absolutely love a whole month of advent-messages from Stephen Fry.

  8. says

    Slightly off-topic here, but did anyone see the recent series Stephen Fry did when he was touring the US? It was just great. I realised how ignorant I was about just how different the culture/landscape/everything can be in different parts of America and it was hard to comprehend as a Brit living on a teeny weeny island.
    Fry was, as ever, fantastic – he fit so much into an hour long programme but it never felt rushed. Oh, and it was on a Sunday night – perfect, relaxing, end of weekend TV.