Wonders Of The Universe – Part 3 Review: Prof. Brian Cox Blows Minds

March 21, 2011 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE: Sunday 20th March, BBC1

The third installment of this fascinating documentary series sees Professor Brian Cox alternating between suntanned and sunburnt, in a dashing variety of windbreakers, as he travels the globe to explain the force of gravity.

Always one for a grand visual metaphor, Cox opens the show astride a snowy mountain top, enthusing about the gravitational pull that binds planets and solar systems together, shaping their form. Soon he’s rocketing off in an anti-gravity airplane to whizz about in mid-air, as the plane plummets from 30,000 feet. Laughing manaically whilst bumping his head on the padded walls, and kicking his legs like an airborne merman, he’s having more fun than anyone’s ever had outside Disneyland – and we’re only ten minutes in.

As Cox explains the intricate ways that gravity affects life on Earth, he goes on another fieldtrip, this time to a gravity-simulator. Climbing into a weird pod (covered in stickers suspiciously similar to the ones on my teenage guitar case) which starts to spin, the Prof is subjected to the varying gravity levels and, ergo, varying face-melt levels, of other planets. Venus’s gravity makes it hard for him to lift his hand, while Jupiter’s has him struggling to heave his arms into the air, and an exo-planet with intense gravitational pull reduces him to a shrivvelled, dribbling man-slug. It’s probably what Berlusconi would look like if someone sucked all the botox out of him through a straw.

Cox is in the business of blowing minds, and this episode is never lacking those what-the-f**k moments that have made the series so brilliant. He reveals that the Milky Way and the nearby (give or take a few million lightyears) Andromeda galaxy are locked in a “gravitational embrace”, that will see the two collide in 300 billion years. Later on he endeavors to explain Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in a clear, incredulous way, explaining that all of space and time is a fabric into which we, the Earth, the Universe itself, are falling. He even presents us with evidence of a black hole within our galaxy, an entity that is so dense that it has the power to stop time and swallow light. How about that for an OMG, Peaches Geldof.

Spectacular graphics, plenty of dramatic helicam shots over the Earth’s most beautiful landscapes, and Cox’s all-pervading enthusiasm combine to make Wonders Of The Universe endlessly engaging. Even if you spent more time snorting sherbet, texting and making blu-tac animals then paying attention in science lessons, you will find your mind splattered across the back wall. And, if you’re anything like me, your heart somewhat stolen by a 43-year-old professor with a penchant for protective outdoor clothing.

Absolutely love Brians work. Clear, concise brilliantly presented. Thank you Brian and all those responsible.

Mair Emery says:

What a joy last night’s Wonders of the Universe was. At last just appropriate volume of “music”. Was Prof. Cox’s voice just a little louder or easier to hear. A word to the Prof re volume of sound. We have not all had our ears blasted with pop music which heis obviously used to. Lets hope that in 20 years time his hrearing will be as good as it is today.!! We pay our licence too. Keep making these wonderful programmes.

Brid says:

For the first time ever, after watching “Wonders of the Universe” last night, I actually understood what was being talked about. Not being scientifically minded, I tended to switch off during programmes dealing with the universe, but this was DIFFERENT – I was utterly enthralled and Brian made it so easy to grasp presenting us with the most wonderful images. I didn’t want the programme to end. It certainly did Blow my Mind. Thank you to Prof Cox for awakening my interest in the Universe. Unfortunately, I missed previous episodes. Wonder if I can download or buy them. Brid

tac says:

I watched Prof Cox’s great programme again last night, and have just one question.

Who is the female singer who comes in at the end of the show over the titles?

tac

Helen Samfat says:

Good article enjoyed the review of Prof Cox programme. Is he not wonderful and what an inspiration. Im older than him but he stole my heart too.