Star Stuff

Posted on Thu 17 March 2011 by alex in geek

Fliss is fairly convinced I have a man crush on Brian Cox. If I have it's because it is nice to have a telegenic scientist on our TV screens who is obviously so excited by the science he wants to share it with his audience. Last week's Wonders left me a little cold as it plodded through entropy theory and it's implications for the end of the universe. This weeks episode was much better paced as Cox went through the from the Big Bang and Stellar Nucleosynthesis and Super Nova processes which are responsible for all the diversity of elements found in our solar system. He even touched upon the stellar chemistry which has been detected which is hinting that much of the organic starter materials for life may already have existed in the dust clouds before the planet was formed.

For me there wasn't much new but I readily accept I'm not really the target audience for the program. However it was still fun to watch and a definite improvement on last weeks episode.

Cox has been quoted as saying he's heavily influenced by the late great Carl Sagan and his seminal Cosmos: A Personal Voyage which we have recently acquired on DVD. Having watched a few episodes of Cosmos so far it's hard not to draw comparisons. However the Cosmos series has the advantage of being 13 episodes long and therefor being much broader in scope in what it tries to cover. While the Wonders series attempts to describe the physics of the universe as it is in 4 episodes Cosmos is able to spend more time on the history of scientific endeavour. It takes time to detail some of the early experiments that started to peel back the mysteries of the universe. On balance I think that makes Cosmos a more interesting series to watch. However if Wonders is sufficiently engaging to make kids think that physics is cool and science is worthy of study then I'm more than happy for it to succeed.