Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
George Edward Challenger, better known as Professor Challenger, is a character in a series of science fiction stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He was first introduced in the novel The Lost World, which describes an expedition to a plateau in South America where prehistoric creatures including dinosaurs still survive. This book appeared in 1912.
Other stories of Professor Challenger include:
- 1913 - The Poison Belt, in which the earth passes through a cloud of poisonous ether.
- 1926 - The Land of Mists , a story of the supernatural, reflecting the strong belief in Spiritualism Doyle developed later in life.
- 1927 - The Disintegration Machine
- 1928 - When the World Screamed
Like Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger was based on a real person - in this case, a Professor Rutherford, who had lectured at Doyle's medical school.
Unlike the cool, analytic Holmes, Professor Challenger is an aggressive, dominating figure. Ed Malone, the narrator of The Lost World, described Challenger this way after first meeting him:
- "His appearance made me gasp. I was prepared for something strange, but not for so overpowering a personality as this. It was his size, which took one's breath away-his size and his imposing presence. His head was enormous, the largest I have ever seen upon a human being. I am sure that his top hat, had I ventured to don it, would have slipped over me entirely and rested on my shoulders. He had the face and beard, which I associate with an Assyrian bull; the former florid, the latter so black as almost to have suspicion of blue, spade-shaped and rippling down in front in a long, curving wisp over his massive forehead. The eyes were blue-grey under great black tufts, very clear, very critical, and very masterful. A huge spread of shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other parts of him which appeared above the table, save for two enormous hands covered with long black hair. This and a bellowing, roaring, rumbling voice made up my first impression of the notorious Professor Challenger."
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