Brian Cox Biography & Facts
Brian Edward Cox (born 3 March 1968) is an English physicist and former musician who is a professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester and The Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science. He is best known to the public as the presenter of science programmes, especially the Wonders of... series and for popular science books, such as Why Does E=mc²? and The Quantum Universe.
Cox has been described as the natural successor for the BBC's scientific programming by both David Attenborough and Patrick Moore. Before his academic career, Cox was a keyboard player for the British bands D:Ream and Dare.
Early life and education
Cox was born on 3 March 1968 in the Royal Oldham Hospital, later living in nearby Chadderton from 1971. He has a younger sister. His parents worked for Yorkshire Bank, his mother as a cashier and his father as a middle-manager in the same branch. He recalls a happy childhood in Oldham that included pursuits such as dance, gymnastics, and plane and bus spotting. He attended the independent Hulme Grammar School in Oldham from 1979 to 1986.He has stated in many interviews and in an episode of Wonders of the Universe that when he was 12, the book Cosmos by Carl Sagan was a key factor in inspiring him to become a physicist. He said on The Jonathan Ross Show that he performed poorly on his maths A-level exam: "I got a D ... I was really not very good ... I found out you need to practise."
In the 1980s and early 90s, Cox was a keyboard player with the rock band Dare. Dare released two albums with Cox – Out of the Silence in 1988 and Blood from Stone in 1991. He joined D:Ream, a group that had several hits in the UK charts, including the number one "Things Can Only Get Better", later used as a New Labour election anthem, although he did not play on the track. In 2015, he appeared as a guest keyboardist during a live performance of the song "Your Silent Face" by New Order. Cox wrote the foreword of the official Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) biography, Pretending to See the Future (2018), having been an "obsessive fan" of the band in his youth. He said of their songs, "They shaped my character and inspired me to make music."
Cox studied physics at the University of Manchester during his music career. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree with first-class honours. After D:Ream disbanded in 1997, he completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in high-energy particle physics at the University of Manchester. His thesis, Double Diffraction Dissociation at Large Momentum Transfer, was supervised by Robin Marshall and based on research he did on the H1 experiment at the Hadron Elektron Ring Anlage (HERA) particle accelerator at the DESY laboratory in Hamburg, Germany.
Career and research
Cox is a particle physicist at the University of Manchester. He worked on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland. He previously held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and a Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) advanced research fellowship.
Cox has co-written several books on physics including Why does E=mc2? and The Quantum Universe, both with Jeff Forshaw. He has supervised or co-supervised several PhD students to completion including Tamsin Edwards.
Cox has appeared in many science programmes for BBC radio and television, including In Einstein's Shadow, the BBC Horizon series, ("The Six Billion Dollar Experiment", "What on Earth is Wrong with Gravity?", "Do You Know What Time It Is?", and "Can we Make a Star on Earth?") and as a voice-over for the BBC's Bitesize revision programmes. He presented the five-part BBC Two television series Wonders of the Solar System in early 2010 and a follow up four-part series, Wonders of the Universe, which began on 6 March 2011. Wonders of Life, which he describes as "a physicist's take on life/natural history", was broadcast in 2013. He co-presents Space Hoppers and has also featured in Dani's House on CBBC.Cox also presented a three-part BBC series called Science Britannica which sees him explore the contribution of British scientists over the last 350 years, as well as the relationship between British science and the public perception thereof.BBC Two commissioned Cox to copresent Stargazing Live, a three-day live astronomy series in January 2011 – co-presented with physicist-turned-comedian Dara Ó Briain and featuring chat show host Jonathan Ross – linked to events across the United Kingdom. A second and a third series featuring a variety of guests ran in January 2012 and January 2013.Since November 2009 Cox has co-presented a BBC Radio 4 "comedy science magazine programme", The Infinite Monkey Cage with comedian Robin Ince. Guests have included comedians Tim Minchin, Alexei Sayle, Dara Ó Briain, and scientists including Alice Roberts of the BBC show The Incredible Human Journey, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Cox also appeared in Ince's Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. He was a regular contributor to the BBC 6 Music Breakfast Show (and the Afternoon Show since 2019) with Shaun Keaveny, with a weekly feature, and an annual Christmas special with Keaveny and Brian Eno. He appeared on 24 July 2009 episode of Robert Llewellyn's CarPool podcast series.Cox has also appeared numerous times at TED, giving talks on the LHC and particle physics. In 2009 he appeared in People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive. In 2010 he was featured in The Case for Mars by Symphony of Science. In November 2010 he made a promotional appearance in the Covent Garden Apple Store, talking about his new e-book set to accompany his new television series as well as answering audience questions.Cox gave the Royal Television Society's 2010 Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture on "Science, a Challenge to TV Orthodoxy", in which he examined problems in media coverage of science and news about science. It was subsequently broadcast on BBC Two. On 4 March, a talk entitled "Frankenstein's Science" at the National Theatre featured Cox in discussion with biographer Richard Holmes on Mary Shelley's exploration of humanity's desire to bring life to an inanimate object and whether the notion is possible, in both the 19th century and today.On 6 March 2011, Cox appeared as a guest at Patrick Moore's 700th episode anniversary of The Sky at Night. He has said that he is a lifelong fan of the programme, and that it helped inspire him to become a physicist. On 10 March 2011, he gave the Ninth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture.
Cox was the science advisor for the science fiction film Sunshine. On the DVD release, he provides an audio commentary where he discusses scientific accuracies (and inaccuracies) depicted in the film. He also was featured on the Discovery Channel special Megaworld: Switzerland. In 2013, he presented another series of Wonders of Life.
On 14 November 2013, BB.... Discover the Brian Cox popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Brian Cox books.