Cavour

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Cavour

Conte Camillo Benso di .1810--61, Italian statesman and premier of Piedmont-Sardinia (1852--59; 1860--61): a leader of the movement for the unification of Italy
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His Cavor, who builds a copper rocket and coats it with a substance called Cavorite to blast him to outer space, is absent-minded and hums and buzzes to himself, distracted by the multitude of ideas in his head.
On set, the only things that we couldn't see in the flesh were the swarms of Selenites, the dome-headed, two-legged creatures that Cavor and his partner in space travel, Mr Bedford, encounter on the Moon.
Bedford realises the vast potential for Cavorite, and together he and Cavor create a capsule to fly them to the moon.
Prof Cavor has a gravity-defying invention named Cavorite, and the two men construct a copper and cast-iron sphere to fly to the Moon.
It is true that the specialization employed by the lunar people can be seen as satire on the part of Wells, and many critics have read it that way, but the fact remains that the Selenite world described by Cavor in his messages to the earth appears to be utopian in the best sense of the word.
He concludes, "And these Selenites are not merely colossally superior to ants, but, according to Cavor, colossally, in intelligence, morality, and social wisdom, higher than man.
By the same token, he exalts Cavor as a Saint-Simonian "savant", an ideal image of the enlightened utopian ruling class.
While his new friend Bedford (Rory Kinnear) suggests a million different practical applications for Cavorite that would make them rich beyond their wildest dreams, Cavor is a scientist who decides to paint it on a home-made spaceship in order to make a voyage of discovery to the moon.
As a young man, Bedford chances to meet professor Cavor, an unworldly scientist with an amazing invention called Cavorite.
THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON (Tuesday, BBC4, 9pm) is a new adaptation of HG Wells' lesser known scientific romance from 1901, starring Mark Gatiss as Prof Cavor and Rory Kinnear as Julius Bedford.
Partington sees this orderliness as a premonition for social critics who threaten that order, as did Giacomo Matteotti in Italy and Cavor in Wells.
There are plenty of mad or dotty scientists in Wells, from Doctor Moreau to Griffin (The Invisible Man, 1897) and Cavor (The First Men in the Moon, 1901).