Professor Brian Cox brings his unique style of scientific presentation to a series of Live Arena events. This Manchester University lecturer known for his highly popular BBC TV series – ‘Wonders of the Solar System’ (BBC 2010) and ‘Wonders of the Universe’ (BBC 2011) takes his gigantic knowledge into a two-and-a-half-hour spectacular show. Supported admirably by mind blowing graphics. Cox takes us on a dazzling cinematic journey through galaxies, black holes and futures. A story of how we came to be and what we can become.
The show addresses where we are in the universe. What it means to be human. Telling us with 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe we are “physically insignificant.” To illustrate the section on space and time. Cox uses a photo of his young self with his grandfather. Explaining that all our pasts are still out there in the continuum.
Cox illustrates his stories using the theories of Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and other less celebrated scientist such as Schwarzschild who followed up Einstein’s work while fighting on the Russian front in the first world war. He then went on to deliver his own theories to Einstein. Some two years after they were originally published in 1915.
An audience’s brain can only stand so much without some form of light relief which is duly supplied by intellectual comedian Robin Ince. Who comedically tells us about the tour and what has happened so far. While in America, at question time a little girl asked. How are crayons made? ‘I really don’t know’ replied Cox. The incident became a running gag between the pair who present ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ together on BBC Radio 4.
Brian Cox has always been popular at events on the corporate speaking circuit where executives have paid handsomely for his words. Now the general public can sit there in amazement, as his quiet northern voice draws you into his own little universe. He does his best to explain complicated theories in lay man terms which is never easy. The audience are intrigued. Even if they don’t understand it all. He asks whether there are any mathematicians in the house. “No? Good, so I can make this shit up.” This throw away line was typical of other bits of laddish banter letting us know he was human.
Not known as a motivational speaker. He encourages his audience by admitting he only got a ‘D’ in Maths at A-level. By today’s standard’s Brian may have struggled to read science at a respected University. He states how we all by ‘practice’ can improve oneself, as he did by improving his maths ability to the heights of his physics. It is interesting to note the great scientists (as above), Cox speaks about didn’t necessarily shine at school or stand out. But went on to scientifically define the world and universe we are apart of.
In the second half Cox spends much time explaining the theory of ‘Black holes. ’What can be learned from them? Brian shows us, how Earth and then life were created by random collisions of atoms. On walks Robin Ince – whose role as clever jester changes to deliver a moving poem on parenthood, time and the preciousness of childhood. This was met by thunderous applause. Which also summed up the feeling in the room – what is means to be human.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He’s lectured at University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences. He has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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