TIn Brian Cox's two and a half hour arena show, you'll find a lot of stunning facts. The nearest neighbor galaxy, Andromeda, is 2.5 m light-years away. Or that supermassive black holes collide just as regularly as every few months. Cox's story is almost science fiction too. He was the keyboarder in the Dance Act D: Ream of the '90s (whose song was "Things Can Only Get Better" set in Blair's 1997 campaign), before going on to doctorate in astrophysics, went on television and now presents a substantially university lecture with knobs Places that are more used to Elton John. Robin Ince – Cox's comedian and co-host of Radio 4's Infinite Monkey Cage – says: "Is not it fantastic that people decide on a Wednesday night not to go to the pub and Instead, look at an extravagant dandy particle? Physicist?"

It's pretty fantastic, and although Cox has been criticized for monetizing science, its significant achievement is to democratize it and make complex cosmology accessible to ordinary people. The extravagant dandy stuff helps. His designer jacket buttoned the same way, his teeth shining like the stars behind him. His hair is so flawless that an audience asks what conditioner he uses. Cox looks less like a scientist than a rock star (especially Jeff Beck with a hint of Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap), but this adds to his responsive body language: "Wow. And look at this! "

It begins by explaining that the show deals with the question of where we are in the universe and what it means to be human and reminds us that with 2tn galaxies in the observable universe, we are "physically insignificant". And during an exciting section on space and time, he uses a photo of his young self with his grandfather to explain that all our past – even his time in the 80s big-hair band Dare – is still there in the continuum outside is. Such pine droppers have made themselves at home amidst explanations of Einstein's theory of relativity, breathtaking cosmos photography, and occasional blokey banter. The planet Mercury is "a black spot". He asks if there are amateur astronomers in the house. Good, so I can make amends. "He does not have to, because the fact is so fantastic.





Professor Brian Cox.



Professor Brian Cox. Photo: Nicky J Sims / Nicky Sims for / Getty Images McIntyre Ents

In the second half he explains how the earth and then life came about through random collisions of atoms. This makes Ince deliver a really moving monologue about parenthood, time, and the preciousness of childhood.

Meanwhile, Cox has moved from the life chances on Mars (possibly in the form of microbes) to its final upswing. The universe is falling apart – the earth is finite – and the billions of years of stable planetary conditions required to create a civilization mean that life, if it exists elsewhere, will most likely be slimy. The fantasies of little green men have vanished, but when Cox concludes that "the planet is everything we have, so let's appreciate it," there is reverence for the rarity and preciousness of humanity, heaven, and our earth , and the magic around us.

  • Professor Brian Cox plays in the Manchester Arena on September 13th and then goes on tour.