Explore the Wonders of The Universe

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Almost exactly one year ago, a new documentary series made its debut on BBC Two. Wonders of The Solar System, presented by the then relatively unknown Professor Brian Cox with whom I share a hometown, captured the imagination of the nation and launched Cox as a new star in the world of popular science. Since the show’s debut, this new celebrity scientist has appeared on our screens countless times as the modern and young voice of televised science. His enthusiastic attitude and (it must be said) boyish good looks winning over countless viewers and forging an interest in science within those who previously had none.

Cox’s remarkable way of explaining complex concepts and systems using just the objects around him – the salt and pepper shakers at a roadside café, stones lying on the desert floor – seems to have made him a hit with the public. His enthusiasm for his subject is infectious and his methods make the subject of physics, often perceived as too difficult for the man on the street, intelligible by anyone, even those scared away from the subject in school. The material is presented in such an easily accessible and friendly manner that Wonders could appeal to any age group, yet it never comes across as condescending. Instead you feel like a friend is trying to explain the subject to you, genuinely wanting you to love their topic as much as they do. Earlier this year, during the Quadrantids meteor shower, Cox teamed up with Ireland’s Dara O’Briain (a much loved and at present extremely popular stand up comedian in the UK) to present Stargazing Live from the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, home of the world famous Lovell Telescope. This three day long live event was broadcast on the BBC with the aim of getting the nation into their gardens and equipping them with the basics of astronomy. The event heavily involved social networking sites such as Twitter and became a truly interactive experience, which on the second night had an unexpected result when countless viewers messaged the show to point out a meteor which had sailed unspotted over the head of a presenter.

Tonight the first episode of Wonders of The Universe, the sequel to the first series of Wonders, airs in the UK to much anticipation. This series promises a broader scope, pushing out from the limits of our own solar system, although it sadly will only include four episodes, in contrast to the five of the first series with this first episode focuses on the concept and nature of time.

Ultimately, Brian discovers that time is not characterised by repetition but by irreversible change. From the relentless march of a glacier, to the decay of an old mining town, the ravaging effects of time are all around us. The vast Universe is subject to these same laws of change. As we look out to the cosmos, we can see the story of its evolution unfold, from the death of the first stars to the birth of the youngest. This journey from birth to death will ultimately lead to the destruction not just of our planet, but also the entire universe, and with it the end of time itself. – BBC Press Office

I am immensely excited to see this new show this evening. If Wonders of the Universe captures the imagination the same way as its predecessor, we are in for a real treat!

Wonders of The Universe begins Sunday March 6th at 9pm on BBC Two and BBC HD. The companion book is available now, the series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from April 4th (UK release). Wonders of the Solar system is also available now on both DVD and Blu-ray and a companion book is available for this series.

Wonders of The Solar System airs on the Science Channel in the USA.




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1 thought on “Explore the Wonders of The Universe

  1. Yay, a UK-centric post of GeekMom!

    I watch my BBC via iPlayer, so have to wait another hour or so to download this, but can’t wait. Wonders of the Solar System was fantastic, so this should be great.
    Not kid friendly, but Brian Cox is also on a radio programme, which you can catch as a podcast, called The Infinite Monkey Cage. Worth listening to.

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