Wednesday, September 26, 2007

David Macaulay Lecture

Tonight I went to a lecture by David Macaulay author of one of my favorite books, The Way Things Work. His next book due in 2008 is called The Way We Work about human anatomy and physiology. He has 160 drawings to finish by January.

It was mostly a slide show of his drawings from various steps in the process. He described in what would sound to layman as technical terms what we were looking at. This was a little odd as we weren't trying to learn anatomy. Every few slides he would throw something funny in. E.g., he had some drawings of the brain which he did in huge scale; the brain was a museum building and he had people walking through it. For one section he said "which in ancient times was the seat of the soul but in my museum it's where the restrooms are." Another drawing showed a tongue being delivered by a barge.

He had a drawing comparing the bones of the hand with the bones of the foot. The fingers and toes have the same number of bones in similar positions but of different lengths since their purpose is different. He said "That kind of comparison that suggests the body changed over time is going to kill the book in Kansas and Oklahoma."

Afterwards I went up to him and said I loved his books and wondered if he would consider writing "How the Universe Works". He thought if it could spread knowledge it would be a good idea. So if that's his next book, you heard it here first.

1 comment:

Sean said...

My original childhood copy of "The Way Things Work" is in one of the unpacked boxes currently surrounding me as I type this... I regret not going to this lecture but I was still decompressing from my trip to Spain...

If you haven't seen it, the TV series "The Secret Life of Machines" always stuck in my head as a spiritual brother of "The Way Things Work" when I was a kid. I have the whole series in some kind of video format if you're interested... Tim Hunkin, the host, is still up to weirdness.