July 27, 2011

Share The Wonders Of The Universe With Prof Brian Cox

Lee Rannals For RedOrbit.com

Professor Brian Cox will be shedding more light on the mystery of the Universe in the new season of "Wonders of the Universe" on Science Channel starting this Wednesday (July 27).

Professor Cox, a former keyboard player in the U.K. pop band D:Ream and a noted physicist working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), catapults his vast interest in physics and astronomy by explaining to viewers the story of the Universe in this new series.

"Not only have we been able to tell that story from just after it began to now, but we've also been able to speculate what the future of the Universe might be all the way out to the evaporation of the last light bulb, which is a ludicrous length of time in the future," Cox said in an interview with redOrbit.com. "If you want the number it's 10 to the power of a hundred years."

The series will kick off Wednesday July 27 on Science Channel at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) with its episode "Children of the Stars." In this episode, Professor Cox travels to an abandoned Rio de Janeiro prison to explain how the 92 elements that make up all life on Earth were created by the lives and deaths of distant stars.

Although the first episode will undoubtedly be brilliant, Cox said "Cosmos Made Conscious," which airs August 3rd, is his favorite.

"I'm really proud of it. There's some really very good physics in it, which we should technically call thermal dynamics," he said in the interview. "It's probably the most difficult show of these four, but I'm really proud of it for that reason. It was quite a bold piece of television, it's not your average science documentary."

In his book "Wonders of the Universe," a London Times-best-seller, the final chapter entitled "Destiny" corresponds with this episode.

"It's about time and it's really about the future," he said. "Most of the show is about our predictions of what will happen tomorrow basically, the tomorrow that stretches to the end of time."

He said some may find this episode depressive, while others will find it uplifting, and "I think that means you've done something right."

The new show is certainly intriguing, even for those who are not as educated in the subject. Cox does an exceptional job at making complex subjects understandable for an ordinary mind.

Despite his name being rockstar-status in the world of physics, at one time Cox's name did not boast the word "professor" in front, but instead was bundled with the term "musician."

It is this history that helps him break the stereotypical image of what most perceive a particle physicist to be. But, his talent for music still derived from a passion in science.

"I was a real geek and I wanted to build boxes that made noises. So I had a band with a friend of mine when I was 11, 12 or 13 years old, but it was really based on building synthesizers," Cox said during the interview.

"I always wanted to be a physicist, or an astronomer, or something to do with space exploration, from when I was very small, indeed."

Professor Cox also works at CERN with the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. Cox said CERN "is my proper job if I wasn't doing this all the time."

He said the laboratory is getting closer to discovering the Higgs particle, an elusive particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. He believes the particle, also known as the "God particle," is just within six months of being discovered.

"It looks now like this thing may be there, and it's pointing back to a spot at something that happened back in the first billionth of the second after the Universe began," he said during the interview.

"Someone was able to sit down with a piece of paper and work that out, and then literally 40 years after they did it, someone builds the biggest scientific experiment ever attempted and goes and finds it."

He said it is these remarkable discoveries, or what one could call inevitable discoveries, are what keeps him so zoned in and passionate about science.

This childlike wonder of the cosmos and passion for physics is what makes Cox such a great host on Science Channel's "Wonders of the Universe."

"Almost unbelievably simple at it's heart, the basic way the Universe works is simple and intelligible and understandable and we just have to discover it. That's an amazing thing."


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