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Brian Cox

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Brian Cox was born on 3rd March 1968 into a well-off family of bankers. He enjoyed a happy childhood which included activities like gymnastics, dance, plane and bus spotting. In 1980 a book he read when he was just 12 inspired him to become a physicist. The book was Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”, followed by a 13 episode TV series of the same title.

Brian’s schooling was done from the independent Hulme Grammar School. He received a D in math in his A-Level exams and from there on decided to put more effort into studying math. He could only think of two reasons for getting such grades in math, one being his erratic hours of band practices and second his lack of interest in math. Music was a passion of Brian’s and he played keyboard in two popular bands during the 80’s and 90’s: D:Ream and Dare. Despite his poor performance in A-Level math, Brian got admission in university and started studying towards a degree in science while still trying to juggle his music as well. Music remained a lifelong passion of Brian and in 1994, his band D:Ream got their song “Things can only get Better” featured as number one on the charts. In 1997 Brian passed out of University of Manchester with a first class degree in Physics. That same year, his band D:Ream disbanded. In 1998, under the supervision of Robin Marshall, Brian completed his doctorate in high energy particle physics from the University of Manchester. The title of his thesis being “Double Diffraction Dissociation at Large Momentum Transfer”.

Career in Science

In 2005, Brian took on the position of professor of particle physics at Manchester University and held a fellowship of the Royal Society University Research from 2005 – 2013.

Brian is a born presenter, over the years; he has made appearances in numerous science programs for both BBC television and radio. In Einstein’s Shadow, Bitesize (a children’s program) and the Horizon series on BBC television are just a few such examples. He also presents “The Infinite Monkey Cage” on Radio4 with Robin Ince.

Brian also presented the popular five-part BBC 2 series “Wonders of the Solar System” in 2010 followed by a 4 part  “Wonders of the Universe” series in 2011 and “Wonders of Life” in 2012 in which he talks about a physicist’s view on natural history. In 2014 he presented BBC series “Human Universe” followed by “Forces of Nature” in 2016.

In 2011 he also hosted the live program “Stargazing Live” about astronomy. The first episode of this popular program featured Jonathan Ross being shown how to use a telescope, while Brian Cox explained why planets are spheres.

Brian has appeared on TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) a number of times as well, where he has talked about particle and Large Hadron Collider physics. In 2010, Brian was also featured on The Case of Mars by The Symphony of Science. Also in 2010, Brian gave a lecture on “Science, a Challenge to TV Orthodoxy” during the Royal Television Society’s Memorial Lecture. Apart from appearing on television as a popular presenter, Brian Cox has authored and co-authored numerous books on physics, such as “The Quantum Universe” and “Why does E=mc2.”

Awards and Honours

In recognition of his efforts to make science popular among the masses, he was voted an International Fellow of The Explorers Club in 2002, and in 2006 he was awarded the British Association’s Lord Kelvin Award. In 2010 he received an OBE for services to science and in 2012 he got the President’s Medal from the Institute of Physics as well as the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize.

Cox is also a “Distinguished Supporter” of the BHA (British Humanist Association).

In 2003 he married the U.S. Science presenter Gia Milinovichin and had his first son, George in 2009. George’s middle name is “Eagle” in honor of the lunar module Apollo 11.

Currently, Professor Brian Cox is hard at work on the ATLAS experiment at CERN in Switzerland using the Large Hadron Collider.

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