Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, extraterrestrials in fiction. Science fiction explores the potential consequences of scientific other various innovations, has been called a "literature of ideas." "Science fiction" is difficult to define as it includes a wide range of concepts and themes. James Blish wrote: "Wells used the term to cover what we would today call'hard' science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to known facts was the substrate on which the story was to be built, if the story was to contain a miracle, it ought at least not to contain a whole arsenal of them."Isaac Asimov said: "Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology." According to Robert A. Heinlein, "A handy short definition of all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world and present, on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method."Lester del Rey wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is," and that the reason for there not being a "full satisfactory definition" is that "there are no delineated limits to science fiction."
Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it." Mark C. Glassy described the definition of science fiction as U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart did with the definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." Science fiction had its beginnings in a time when the line between myth and fact was arguably more blurred than the present day. Written in the 2nd century CE by the satirist Lucian, A True Story contains many themes and tropes that are characteristic of contemporary science fiction, including travel to other worlds, extraterrestrial lifeforms, interplanetary warfare, artificial life; some consider it the first science-fiction novel. Some of the stories from The Arabian Nights, along with the 10th-century The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter and Ibn al-Nafis's 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus contain elements of science fiction. Products of the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Johannes Kepler's Somnium, Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, Cyrano de Bergerac's Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and The States and Empires of the Sun, Margaret Cavendish's "The Blazing World", Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Ludvig Holberg's Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum and Voltaire's Micromégas are regarded as some of the first true science-fantasy works.
Indeed, Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan considered Somnium the first science-fiction story. Following the 18th-century development of the novel as a literary form, Mary Shelley's books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped define the form of the science-fiction novel. Brian Aldiss has argued. Edgar Allan Poe wrote several stories considered science fiction, including "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" which featured a trip to the Moon. Jules Verne was noted for his attention to detail and scientific accuracy Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which predicted the contemporary nuclear submarine. In 1887, the novel El anacronópete by Spanish author Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau introduced the first time machine. Many critics consider H. G. Wells one of science fiction's most important authors, or "the Shakespeare of science fiction." His notable science-fiction works include The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds. His science fiction imagined alien invasion, biological engineering and time travel.
In his non-fiction futurologist works he predicted the advent of airplanes, military tanks, nuclear weapons, satellite television, space travel, something resembling the World Wide Web. In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars, the first of his three-decade-long planetary romance series of Barsoom novels, set on Mars and featuring John Carter as the hero. In 1926, Hugo Gernsback published the first American science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in which he wrote: By'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision... Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading—they are always instructive, they supply knowledge... in a palatable form... New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow... Many great science stories destined to be of historical interest are still to be written...
Posterity will point to them as having blazed a new trail, not only in literature and fiction, but progress as well. In 1928, E. E. "Doc" Smith's first published work, The Skylark of Space, written in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby, appeared in Amazing Stories. It is called the first great space opera; the same year, Philip Francis Nowlan's original Buck Rogers story, Armageddon 2419 appeared in Amazing Stories. This was followed by the first serious science-fiction comic. In 1937, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction, an event, sometimes conside
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
So Long, Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" written by Douglas Adams. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, as described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; the phrase has since been adopted by some science fiction fans as a humorous way to say "goodbye" and a song of the same name was featured in the 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. While hitchhiking through the galaxy, Arthur Dent is dropped off on a planet in a rainstorm, he appears to be in England on Earth though he saw the planet destroyed by the Vogons. He has been gone for several years, he hitches a lift with a man named his sister Fenchurch. Russell explains that Fenny became delusional after worldwide mass hysteria, in which everyone hallucinated "big yellow spaceships". Arthur becomes curious about Fenchurch. Inside his still standing home, Arthur finds a gift-wrapped bowl inscribed with the words "So long and thanks", which he uses for his Babel Fish.
Arthur considers that Fenchurch is somehow connected to the Earth's destruction. He still has the ability to fly. Arthur puts his life in order, tries to find out more about Fenchurch, he accidentally picks her up. He loses it, he haphazardly discovers her home when he searches for the cave he had lived in on prehistoric Earth. They find more circumstances connecting them. Fenchurch reveals that, moments before her "hallucinations", she had an epiphany about how to make everything right, but blacked out, she has not been able to recall the substance of the epiphany. Noticing that Fenchurch's feet do not touch the ground, Arthur teaches her, they have sex in the skies over London. In a conversation with Fenchurch, she learns from Arthur about hitchhiking across the galaxy and Arthur learns that all the dolphins disappeared shortly after the world hallucinations, he and Fenchurch travel to California to see John Watson, an enigmatic scientist who claims to know why the dolphins disappeared. He has abandoned his original name in favour of "Wonko the Sane", because he believes that the rest of the world's population has gone mad.
Watson shows them another bowl with the words "So long and thanks for all the fish" inscribed on it, encourages them to listen to it. The bowl explains audibly that the dolphins, aware of the planet's coming destruction, left Earth for an alternate dimension. Before leaving, they created a new Earth and transported everything from the original to the new one. After the meeting, Fenchurch tells Arthur that while he lost something and found it, she had found something and lost it, she desires that they travel to space together, reach the site where God's Final Message to His Creation is written. Ford Prefect discovers that the Hitchhiker's Guide entry for Earth consists of the volumes of text he wrote, instead of the previous truncated entry, "Mostly harmless". Curious, Ford hitchhikes across the galaxy to reach Earth, he uses the ship of a giant robot to land in the centre of London, causing a panic. In the chaos, Ford reunites with Arthur and Fenchurch, they commandeer the robot's ship. Arthur takes Fenchurch to the planet where God's Final Message to His Creation is written, where they discover Marvin.
Due to previous events, Marvin is now 37 times older than the known age of the universe and is functional. With Arthur and Fenchurch's help, Marvin reads the Message, utters the final words "I think... I feel good about it", dies happily; the novel has a different tone from the previous books in the series. This is because it is a romance, because the book bounces around in time more erratically than its predecessors. Adams injects a humorous sub-plot. There is less outer-space time than in the previous books; the different tone reflects the rushed nature of the writing. As a result, Adams stated that he was not happy with the book, which includes several jarring authorial intrusions, which fellow author and Adams' biographer Neil Gaiman described as "patronising and unfair"; the book reflects a significant shift in Adams's view of computers. In the previous books, computers had been portrayed quite negatively, reflecting Adams' views on the subject at the time. However, between the writing of Life, the Universe and Everything and So Long, Thanks for All the Fish, his attitude toward technology changed considerably.
Having been taken along to a computer fair, he became enamored of the first model of the Macintosh, the start of a long love affair with the brand. In So Long, Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur Dent purchases an Apple computer for the purpose of star mapping in order to pinpoint the location of the cave he lived in on prehistoric Earth, although Adams mocks Arthur's methodology, the computer itself is not disparaged, somehow produces the correct result. In a essay, Adams noted that some people had accused him of being a "turncoat" because of this change in his attitu
Harmless is a 1992 novel by Douglas Adams and the fifth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. It is described on the cover of the first editions as "The fifth book in the inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy", it was his final book released in his lifetime. The title derives from a joke early in the series, when Arthur Dent discovers that the entry for Earth in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy consists, in its entirety, of the word "Harmless", his friend Ford Prefect, a contributor to the Guide, assures him that the next edition will contain the article on Earth that Ford has spent the last 15 years researching—somewhat cut due to space restrictions, but still an improvement. The revised article, he admits, will read "Mostly harmless", it turns out that Ford had written a long essay on how to have fun on Earth, but the editors in the guide's main office building edited everything out. In the series, Ford is surprised to discover that all of his contribution had been edited back into the Guide, prompting his reunion with Arthur on the alternative Earth in So Long, Thanks for All the Fish.
In an interview reprinted in The Salmon of Doubt, Adams expressed dissatisfaction with the tone of this book, which he blamed on personal problems, saying "for all sorts of personal reasons I don't want to go into, I just had a miserable year, I was trying to write a book against that background. And, guess what, it was a rather bleak book!" Arthur Dent plans to sightsee across the Galaxy with his girlfriend Fenchurch, but she disappears during a hyperspace jump, a result of being from an unstable sector of the Galaxy. Depressed, Arthur continues to travel the galaxy using semen donations to fund his travels, assured of his safety until he visits Stavromula Beta, having killed an incarnation of Agrajag at some point in the future at said planet. During one trip, he ends up stranded on the homely planet Lamuella, decides to stay to become a sandwich maker for the local population. Meanwhile, Ford Prefect has returned to the offices of the Hitchhiker's Guide, is annoyed to find out the original publishing company, Megadodo Publications, has been taken over by InfiniDim Enterprises, which are run by the Vogons.
Fearing for his life, he escapes the building, along the way stealing the yet-unpublished sentient Hitchhiker's Guide Mk. II, he goes into hiding after sending the Guide to care of Arthur, for safekeeping. On Lamuella, Arthur is surprised by the appearance of Trillian with Random Dent. Trillian explains that she wanted a child, could use the only human DNA she could find, thus claiming that Arthur is Random's father, she leaves Random with Arthur to allow her to better pursue her career as an intergalactic reporter. Random is frustrated with life on Lamuella; the Guide helps her to escape the planet on Ford's ship after Ford arrives on the planet looking for Arthur. Discovering Random, the Guide, Ford's ship missing, the two manage to find a way to leave Lamuella and head for Earth, where they suspect Random is heading to find Trillian. Ford expresses concern on the Guide's manipulation of events, noting its "Unfiltered Perception" and fearing its potence and ultimate objective. Reporter Tricia McMillan is a version of Trillian living on an alternate Earth who never took Zaphod Beeblebrox's offer to travel in space.
She is approached by an extraterrestrial species, the Grebulons, who have created a base of operations on the planet Rupert, a discovered tenth planet in the Solar System. However, due to damage to their ship in arriving, they have lost most of their computer core and their memories, with the only salvageable instructions being to observe something interesting with Earth, they ask Tricia's help to adapt astrology charts for Rupert in exchange for allowing her to interview them. Tricia conducts the interview, she is called away from editing the footage to report on a spaceship landing in the middle of London. As Tricia arrives, Random is leaving the ship. Random yells at Tricia. Arthur and Trillian arrive and help Tricia to calm Random, they take her to a bar. Trillian tries to warn the group that the Grebulons, having become bored of their mission, are about to destroy the Earth. Random disrupts the discussion by producing a laser gun. Arthur, still believing he cannot die, tries to calm Random's nerves, but a distraction causes her to fire the weapon, sending the bar into a panic.
Arthur tends to a man hit by the blast, who drops a card with the name of the bar- "Stavro Mueller – Beta". Arthur makes out Ford laughing wildly at this turn of events, experiencing a "tremendous feeling of peace"; the Grebulons, having determined that removing Earth from the astrological charts will improve their horoscopes, destroy it. It is revealed that the Vogons designed the Guide Mk. II with the ability to see the potential outcome of any event, enabling it to ensure that every version of the Earth in all realities is destroyed, its mission complete, the Guide collapses into nothingness. Unlike the previous books in the series, Mostly Harmless received mixed reviews noting its darker tone. Nicholas Lezard in The Guardian wrote: "I doubt there is a comedy sci-fi work bleaker than Mostly Harmless"; the Independent concluded "Mostly Harmless has all the wit and inventiveness of vintage Douglas Adams, though its loose ends are not tied together as comprehensively as in previous Hitch-Hiker books".
David Edelman in the Baltimore Evening Sun wrote: "Somewhere bur
Spice World (film)
Spice World is a 1997 British musical comedy film directed by Bob Spiers and written by Kim Fuller. The film stars pop girl group; the film—made in a similar vein to The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night —depicts a series of fictional events leading up to a major concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, liberally interspersed with dream sequences and flashbacks as well as surreal moments and humorous asides. This is the second feature-length film directed by Spiers, following That Darn Cat; the film features Richard E. Grant, Claire Rushbrook, Naoko Mori, Meat Loaf, Barry Humphries, Alan Cumming in supporting roles. Filming took place in London for six of the eight filming weeks and inside Twickenham Studios, as well as at over 40 famous British landmarks. Shooting featured several fourteen-hour shooting sessions and a constant, heavy media presence due to the Spice Girls' large popularity at the time; the film premiered on 15 December 1997 and was released to British cinemas on the British holiday Boxing Day.
In North America, the film was distributed by Columbia Pictures, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Icon Entertainment International and premiered on 23 January 1998. In the United States, Spice World became a box office success and broke the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl weekend with box office sales of $10,527,222; the film grossed $151 million over $100 million including DVD sales. Despite being a box office success, the film received negative reviews; the film is considered cult for a generation, describing it as a brilliant film a masterpiece of the parody genre, that mocks both the starsystem and clichés of the cinema, while giving many winks to popular culture of the time. The film begins with the Spice Girls performing "Too Much" on Top of the Pops, but they become dissatisfied with the burdens of fame and fortune. Meanwhile, sinister newspaper owner Kevin McMaxford is attempting to ruin the girls' reputation for his newspaper's ratings. McMaxford dispatches photographer Damien to take pictures and tape recordings of the girls.
Less threatening but more annoying is Piers Cuthbertson-Smyth, who stalks the girls along with his camera crew, hoping to use them as subjects for his next project. At the same time, the girls' uptight manager and his sympathetic assistant Deborah, are fending off two over-eager Hollywood writers, Martin Barnfield and Graydon, who relentlessly pitch absurd plot ideas for a feature film for the Spice Girls. Amid this, the girls must prepare for their live concert at the Royal Albert Hall in three days, the biggest performance of their career. At the heart of it, the constant practices, publicity appearances, other burdens of celebrity affect the girls on a personal level, preventing them from spending much time with their pregnant best friend, due to give birth soon. Throughout the busy schedule, the girls attempt to ask Clifford for time off to spend with Nicola and relax, but Clifford refuses after talking with the head of the girls' record label, the cryptic and eccentric "Chief"; the stress and overwork compound, which culminate in a huge argument between Clifford and the girls.
The girls storm out on the evening before their gig at the Albert Hall. The girls separately think back on their struggle to the top, they reunite by chance outside the now-abandoned café where they practiced during their childhood years, they reconcile, decide to take Nicola out dancing. However, Nicola goes into labor at the nightclub and is rushed to the hospital in the girls' bus, giving birth to a healthy baby girl; when Emma notices that the delivery "doctor" has a camera, the girls realize that he is Damien, who runs off with the girls in hot pursuit, only to hit his head after accidentally colliding with an empty stretcher. When Damien sees the girls standing over him, he tells them that they have made him see the error of his ways, he goes after McMaxford, subsequently fired in a "Jacuzzi scandal". After noticing the girls' bus driver, Dennis is missing, Victoria decides to take the wheel, it becomes a race against time. While approaching Tower Bridge, the bridge begins to raise to let a boat through the River Thames.
Victoria drives up over the gap. The bus lands safely on the other side, but when Emma opens a trapdoor in the floor, she discovers a bomb, the girls scream before Emma slams the trapdoor shut again; the girls arrive at the Royal Albert Hall for their performance and run up the steps. However, the girls have one more obstacle to overcome: a London policeman charges the girls with "dangerous driving, criminal damage, flying a bus without a license, frightening the pigeons". Emma pushes forward and tells the policeman that she and the other girls were late for their performance at the Albert Hall. Emma smiles at the policeman, he lets the girls off for their performance; the film ends when the girls perform their song "Spice Up Your Life" at the start of their Royal Albert Hall concert broadcast live on television around the world. The supporting cast talk about the girls' film during the closing credits. Mel C tells the other girls that the outgoing audience is watching them; the girls talk to the audience, commenting on "those two in the back row snogging" and on one's dress, discuss their film, just minutes before the bomb in their bus explodes.
Spiers had been working in America on the Disney film That Darn Cat at the
The mythology of pre-Christian Ireland did not survive the conversion to Christianity. However, much of it was preserved in medieval Irish literature, though it was shorn of its religious meanings; this literature represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branches of Celtic mythology. Although many of the manuscripts have not survived and much more material was never committed to writing, there is enough remaining to enable the identification of distinct, if overlapping, cycles: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Historical Cycle. There are a number of extant mythological texts that do not fit into any of the cycles. Additionally, there are a large number of recorded folk tales that, while not mythological, feature personages from one or more of these four cycles. Today some of the best known tales are of Tír na nÓg, Fionn MacCumhaill, Na Fianna, The Aos Sí / Aes Sídhe, Sétanta, The Tuatha Dé Danann, the Children of Lir, Táin Bó Cúailnge & the Salmon of Knowledge.
Depending on the sources, the importance of gods and goddesses in Irish mythology varies. The geographical tales, emphasize the importance of female divinities while the historical tradition focuses on the colonizers, inventors, or male warriors with the female characters only intervening in episodes. Goddesses are linked to a place and they seem to draw their power from that place, they are maternal deities caring for the earth itself as well as children. They are connected to poetry, smith craft, healing. Many appear to be prophetic when foretelling death as well as transformational. Zoomorphism is an important feature for many Irish deities. Badb Catha, the Raven of Battle, introduces zoomorphism to celtic deities of both sexes. Male deities are less zoomorphic than the female deities in the Irish tradition, but there are still some instances of shapeshifting among gods. There is a presence in Irish Mythology of the Triad referred to as the "power of three," which expresses the extreme potency of a deity rather than dividing the power.
It is an attribute more pronounced among female deities. Dagda is called by two other names, Lug has two brothers, there is the Three Gods of Skill There is a lack of a goddess of love equivalent to Aphrodite or Venus due to the predominance of the maternal element in the culture of the Celts. There are multiple categories of goddesses in Irish Mythology: the Mother Goddess, Seasonal Goddess, Warrior Goddess are a few; some of these goddesses are considered to be all one goddess while other stories treat them as separate. Among the mother goddesses is Anu the goddess of Danu. Additionally, Brigit is a mother goddess, sometimes considered one goddess and sometimes considered the three sisters Brigit, she is the mother goddess that watches over childbirth. She brings abundance. Brigit can be categorized as a seasonal goddess and one can win her favor by burying a fowl alive at the meeting of three waters as a form of sacrifice, she survives as Saint Brigit in the Christian faith and some modern folklore makes her midwife to the Blessed Virgin.
The function of these goddesses involves the entire cycle of life from birth through adolescence and the fertility. They are protecting forces that provide the necessities of life within the home and are envisioned as being the earth itself, their importance have led some scholars to propose a matrilineal social organization and others highlight this argument as being feminist propaganda and deny all indications of importance. These goddesses are the patronesses of feasts, they appear during great feasts of Ireland and they bring abundance. The main goddesses are the Machas: Carman, Tea, but there are other seasonal goddesses. Warrior Goddesses are linked with warrior women because there is historical evidence of women leading their tribes into battle. Oftentimes, warrior goddesses are depicted in a trio; this trio can change to include different goddesses. They reign over the battlefield without having to physically be involved, they do not need to strike a blow because they control the events while the male deities are depicted as being in the battles.
This aspect leads to the discussion of women as the gods of slaughter. Scholars note that the female deities govern the natural event while the male deities govern the social event; the main goddesses of war are Morrigan and Bodb. The Irish Gods are divided into four main groups. Group one encompasses the older gods of Britain; the second group is the main focus of much of the mythology and surrounds the native Irish gods with their homes in burial mounds. The third group are the gods that dwell in the sea and the fourth group includes stories of the Otherworld; the gods that appear most are Dagda and Lug. Some scholars have argued that the stories of these gods align with the Greek gods. Druids were held in high esteem by the community as religious leaders, their functions and origins are debated which some attribute to the fact that there was no written tradition. This lack of documentary evidence is said to be because the practices become common property and this makes the student relax their diligence.
They are figures in Irish Mythology and study astronomy. Heroes in Irish mythology can be found in two distinct groups. There is the hero outside of the tribe; the first group encompasses all, subject to man and his works must belong to the tribe and live under its laws. Within the tribe, heroes are of the race of humans and gods
Clinton Richard Dawkins, is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008. Dawkins first came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. With his book The Extended Phenotype, he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment. In 2006, he founded the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science. Dawkins is known as an outspoken atheist, he is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. In The Blind Watchmaker, he argues against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker, in that reproduction and selection are unguided by any designer.
In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion. Dawkins has been awarded many prestigious academic and writing awards, he makes regular television and Internet appearances, predominantly discussing his books, his atheism, his ideas and opinions as a public intellectual. Dawkins was born in Nairobi in British Kenya, on 26 March 1941, he is the son of Jean Mary Vyvyan and Clinton John Dawkins, an agricultural civil servant in the British Colonial Service in Nyasaland, of an Oxfordshire landed gentry family. His father was called up into the King's African Rifles during World War II and returned to England in 1949, when Dawkins was eight, his father had inherited a country estate, Over Norton Park in Oxfordshire, which he farmed commercially. Dawkins lives in Oxford, England. Dawkins has a younger sister. Both his parents were interested in natural sciences, they answered Dawkins's questions in scientific terms. Dawkins describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing".
He embraced Christianity until halfway through his teenage years, at which point he concluded that the theory of evolution was a better explanation for life's complexity, ceased believing in a god. Dawkins states: "The main residual reason why I was religious was from being so impressed with the complexity of life and feeling that it had to have a designer, I think it was when I realised that Darwinism was a far superior explanation that pulled the rug out from under the argument of design, and that left me with nothing." From 1954 to 1959 Dawkins attended Oundle School in Northamptonshire, an English public school with a distinct Church of England flavour, where he was in Laundimer house. While at Oundle, Dawkins read, he studied zoology at Balliol College, graduating in 1962. He continued as a research student under Tinbergen's supervision, receiving his MA and Doctor of Philosophy degrees by 1966, remained a research assistant for another year. Tinbergen was a pioneer in the study of animal behaviour in the areas of instinct and choice.
From 1967 to 1969, he was an assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. During this period, the students and faculty at UC Berkeley were opposed to the ongoing Vietnam War, Dawkins became involved in the anti-war demonstrations and activities, he returned to the University of Oxford in 1970 as a lecturer. In 1990, he became a reader in zoology. In 1995, he was appointed Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position, endowed by Charles Simonyi with the express intention that the holder "be expected to make important contributions to the public understanding of some scientific field", that its first holder should be Richard Dawkins, he held that professorship from 1995 until 2008. Since 1970, he has been a fellow of New College, he is now an emeritus fellow, he has delivered many lectures, including the Henry Sidgwick Memorial Lecture, the first Erasmus Darwin Memorial Lecture, the Michael Faraday Lecture, the T. H. Huxley Memorial Lecture, the Irvine Memorial Lecture, the Sheldon Doyle Lecture, the Tinbergen Lecture, the Tanner Lectures.
In 1991, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children on Growing Up in the Universe. He has edited several journals, has acted as editorial advisor to the Encarta Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Evolution, he is listed as a senior editor and a columnist of the Council for Secular Humanism's Free Inquiry magazine, has been a member of the editorial board of Skeptic magazine since its foundation. Dawkins has sat on judging panels for awards as diverse as the Royal Society's Faraday Award and the British Academy Television Awards, has been president of the Biological Sciences section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2004, Balliol College, instituted the Dawkins Prize, awarded for "outstanding research into the ecology and behaviour of animals whose welfare and survival may be endangered by human activities". In September 2008, he retired from his professorship, announcing plans to "write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in'anti-scientific' fairytales."In
Salmon of Knowledge
The Salmon of Knowledge is a creature figuring in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. The Salmon story figures prominently in The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn, which recounts the early adventures of Fionn mac Cumhaill. According to the story, an ordinary salmon ate nine hazelnuts that fell into the Well of Wisdom from nine hazel trees that surrounded the well. By this act, the salmon gained all the world's knowledge; the first person to eat of its flesh would in turn gain this knowledge. The poet Finn Eces spent seven years fishing for this salmon. Finn caught the salmon and gave the fish to Fionn, his servant and son of Cumhaill, with instructions to cook it but on no account to eat any of it. Fionn cooked the salmon, turning it over and over, but when he touched the fish with his thumb to see if it was cooked, he burnt his finger on a drop of hot cooking fish fat. Fionn sucked on his burned finger to ease the pain. Little did Fionn know that all of the salmon's wisdom had been concentrated into that one drop of fish fat.
When he brought the cooked meal to Finn Eces, his master saw that the boy's eyes shone with a unseen wisdom. Finn Eces asked Fionn. Answering no, the boy explained. Finn Eces realized that Fionn had received the wisdom of the salmon, so gave him the rest of the fish to eat. Fionn in so doing gained all the knowledge of the world. Throughout the rest of his life, Fionn could draw upon this knowledge by biting his thumb; the deep knowledge and wisdom gained from the Salmon of Knowledge, allowed Fionn to become the leader of the Fianna, the famed heroes of Irish myth. In Welsh mythology, the story of how the poet Taliesin received his wisdom follows a similar pattern. In 1999, in celebration of the return of fish to the River Lagan, the city of Belfast erected a sculpture titled The Salmon of Knowledge but locally called The Big Fish. Fisher King Mead of poetry Hallucinogenic fish The boyhood of Fin mac Cumhal In: T. W. Rolleston The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland, G. G. Harrap & Co.
1910, pp. 106–115. The Salmon of Knowledge Celtic.org. Retrieved 14 December 2011; the Boyhood Deeds of Finn mac Cumhaill