Using visible text, brilliant photography and presenting the facts with his quiet affable manner and brilliant ability to transform cutting edge science into a language many can hope to understand, rock star physicist and England’s glamour Professor the very likeable Brian Cox is at it again.
His innate ability to make complex matters not only entertaining but also easy to contemplate means he’s either standing at the top of the world or diving deep in the ocean to explain the evolution of life on earth for his latest BBC2 Wonders of Life five episode television series.
It was American born English playwright TS Eliot (1888-1965) who noted ‘the purpose of re-ascending to origins is so that we should be able to return, with greater spiritual knowledge, to our own situation’.
Brian Cox is a man on a mission, extending that idea so that it means so much more. How did life begin in the first place? What is the difference between the living and dead are just some of the questions he is asked often?
This is a nature series unlike any other, revealing life from that of a tiny dragonfly foraging deep down in water in one aspect of its life, to that of a large beautiful monarch butterfly soaring high in the air, because he is ‘hard-wired to the heavens’ – what is life, Cox asks and then sets out to answer the question.
He explains it isn’t mystical, but matter and energy combined in a process where energy is conserved not created or destroyed and eventually reaches one potential before being transformed again.
Deep within our own human form, it is energy that is the microscopic battery powering the process of our life on earth.
We discover that everything in our world has limits to how far it can grow, Cox explains, ‘its structure, form and function, was originally shaped by the process of evolution through natural selection’.
But, we find out ‘evolution doesn’t have a free hand’ it is constrained by the universal laws of physics, which guides the lives of all living things.
From the very biggest to the very smallest, from the tallest tree, to the smallest bacterium cell, Brian Cox explains how size influences the natural world and how our world is made up of many worlds within.
This is a series that is quite simply awesome in its scale, scope and sensitivity.
It is empowering, enlightening and enriching as Brian Cox shares his insight into the Wonders of Life with great empathy, one that will undoubtedly help transform us and our lives here on earth, yet again.
Brilliantly photographed, the series opens as we watch that original aquatic predator become a master of the air in the brief, but dramatic transformation that takes place in the life of a single dragonfly.
Remarkable, with an incredible agility and ability to fly at 15 miles an hour, the tiny dragonfly, which has been around since before the dinosaurs, has been fine tuned by natural selection over thousands of years to catch his prey on the wing with the aid of 360 degree vision.
He is a beautiful piece of engineering, a complex machine whose very existence raises deep questions; what it is it that makes something alive? What’s the difference between a rock and me and what really animates living things?
Brian Cox reminds us that every culture and religion on earth has believed, and many still do believe that the soul, the spirit or the very essence of who we are still persists after death and can have a second of life.
Showing enormous respect for everyone he doesn’t dispute the fact, he doesn’t argue against it or seek to destroy it… simply accepts that all such beliefs have merit and sets out to explain why in five stunning episodes of this groundbreaking landmark scientific and nature series.
Cox travels first to Sagada in the Phillipines, where people believe mountain spirits give life and where the souls of those who die return to the mountains where they become spirits who walk again among the living.
He examines and explains the difference between the water in two lakes not far from each other in this volatile volcanic area of the Philliipines, one of which contains lethal doses of sulphuric acid, the other where life thrives and is fit to drink.
We begin to understand how this natural phenomenon happened and why energy is continually transforming and how energy is the one thing on our planet that is eternal.
He then hones in on what happened on our own world from 4 billion years ago and how energy, the main building block of all life, transformed from one form to another until the emergence of humankind.
This series should be shown to everyone, from children in schools to CEO’s in their boardroom, from politicians in parliament to the elderly in nursing homes.
He truly believes we can all understand what he does and so he does his utmost to explain the often baffling complexities of science for all.
No wonder he attracts huge crowds wherever he goes. Later this year he is coming again to Australia to speak and the venues sold out within four hours of going online recently.
Brian Cox is a phenomenon, the UK’s and perhaps the world’s foremost communicator of all things scientific.
Its not surprising to discover that he really was a rock star of the hit band D:Ream, who scored a UK No. 1 in 1994 with the song Things Can Only Get Better.
Professor Brian Cox who is the real deal says “The aim of particle physics is to understand what everything’s made of, and how everything sticks together. By everything I mean me and you, the Earth, the Sun, the 100 billion suns in our galaxy and the 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Absolutely everything”*
We don’t want to attach too many spoilers, just to say watch it! This is the stuff of legends.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013
Presenter Brian Cox
When: ABC TV Australia
Commencing Thursday 27th June, 2013 at 8:30 pm
1. “What is Life?”
Professor Brian Cox journeys to Southeast Asia to see how life began on Earth and how the flow of energy created and supports life.
2. “Expanding Universe”
In the second episode, Brian travels to the U.S. to showcase how the laws of science allowed senses to arise.
3. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”
4. “Size Matters”
The fourth episode sees Brian in Australia looking at how the size of life affects each plant and animal, and how long it can survive.
In the final episode, Cox travels to Mexico and explains what makes Earth a home for life and asks what ingredients were required for complex life to begin.
Wonders of Life – the book is available www.bookoffers.com.au