Professor Brian Cox: A Night with the Stars

For one night only, Professor Brian Cox goes unplugged in a specially recorded programme from the lecture theatre of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

In his own inimitable style, Brian takes an audience of famous faces, scientists and members of the public on a journey through some of the most challenging concepts in physics.

With the help of Jonathan Ross, Simon Pegg, Sarah Millican and James May, Brian shows how diamonds – the hardest material in nature – are made up of nothingness; how things can be in an infinite number of places at once; why everything we see or touch in the universe exists; and how a diamond in the heart of London is in communication with the largest diamond in the cosmos.

Join The Conversation

45 Comments / User Reviews

Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I don’t like the way he explained the double slit experiment, but other than that this was great.

  2. One word: Brilliant!!

  3. 19.10 not so simple for this guy

  4. I love the Brits!  They make everything seem naughty!

  5. His passion for the universe, and all the things in it, remind me of The Doctor.. 🙂

  6.  I enjoyed this documentary for the most part. I like Brian Cox overall & enjoy his sense of humour. However….his jabs at New Age ‘woo-woo’ & so-called mischievous Hippies are uncalled for. Throughout Western history, the great enemy of scientific progress was & remains  Christian religious extremism! Galileo was not silenced by Hippies & stem cell research is currently being challenged by so-called ‘pro-life’ fundamentalist Christians- not New Age Wiccans, Vegans or what have you. 

    I wonder if, due to his rocker past & hip carefully maintained preternaturally youthful image, perhaps he feels tolerated & marginally accepted by the ‘nerdy’ scientific community egg-heads & must therefore distance himself from other so-called hip types in order to gain their approval & appear legitimate as a physicist. It reminded me of the sad display of a closeted gay person making homophobic jokes or someone who is ‘passing for white’ spouting racist epithets in order to be accepted into some ‘in crowd’. I hope he watched this & does better next time. Why, I bet that many of his closest friends are Hippies: mischievous ones at that! BUT he doesn’t have them over to dinner on the same night his scientific colleagues. 

    • I agree. I also like Brian Cox, however he does seem hugely effected by certain stereotypical “DO’s & DONT’s” in regards to his image and manor. It’s almost as if he’s carved him self out a nice custom made type of persona that benefits him in such a way he get’s the best of both worlds – social acceptance from both mainstream and alternative circles and also being highly credited as a leading physicist.

      Your right about the stem cell research being hindered by the silly radical Christians too. I don’t agree with them regarding their claim that the cell is life as its just an embryo, the other chemical reactions have not yet taken place.They say without religion we’d be a thousand years ahead of our time, and all you’ve got to do is look back at the dark ages…so much information lost.

  7. I loved this. Unfortunately, his statement about the Pauli exclusion principle is just wrong and his extrapolation about “all electrons in the universe” is also. Electrons can have the same energy, they’re forbidden from having the same quantum states. In order for this to have an effect on other electrons, the system needs to be describable by a single wavefunction, which is doubtful for the diamond, let alone the universe.

    • Not surprisingly, I’m confused.  What’s the difference between “energy” and “quantum states”?  See, after watching his explanation, I sort of thought that an atom’s energy was determined by the quantum states of its electrons.  If the electrons were in higher “orbits”, the atom would have a higher energy. 

      I’m thinking that the “orbits” and “quantum states” are the same.  Is that where my understanding fails? 

      His explanation of the Pauli exclusion principal was about as “woo woo” as it gets, so any clearing up would be appreciated.

      • you’re pretty right, the energy of an electron is determined by the quantum state that it is in, and orbitals further from the nucleus tend to higher energies. but energy is just one quantity associated with a state, and in some cases you may have multiple quantum states corresponding to the same energy (called “degeneracy”). a quantum state of an electron around a nucleus is more than just how far from the nucleus it is, but also things like its orientation, angular momentum, and other features.

        with the pauli exclusion principal, multiple electrons (or any fermions) may not occupy the same quantum state (else they’d likely all collapse to the inner-most shell of an atom). however, if multiple states have the same energy, you may have electrons in different states having that energy without violating pauli exclusion. in practice, the more elements and various interactions of a physical system you take into account, the more the quantum states may differ in energy from each other (called “lifting the degeneracy”).

        hope that made some sense.

  8. Below comment for DaftAida

  9. One of the most ridiculous statements I’ve read on the internet and that takes some bloody doing. Jackmeoff (aka wanker below almost pipped you to the honour but not quite). The sun produces enough energy per second to fuel the US for 1 million years therefore our understanding of these processes are the best chance we have of surviving into the future and replacing the destructive use of a dwindling carbon based energy supply. Science is the most honourable of all professions and Cox is a great man for spreading his knowledge with such charm and enthusiasm hopefully inspiring the next generation to do a better job than the likes of you. Now fuck off back to playstation and your neoNazi wank mags.

    • I agree buddy, I can’t even reply to his comment coz I don’t know how can I go to his level and explain him anything.

      I just don’t understand how he ended up here?

      Cox is a very inspirational scientist!

  10. i laughed, i cried, it became a part of me…. i hope hes teaching somewhere!

  11. Great documentary and a great presenter. I really enjoyed it and he explains things really intuitional. 
    Also I loved the cheerful momentum of everyone in that hall.

  12. It is true that ‘diamonds are a girls best friend’ if she’s a Jewess and can afford such glittery fripperies made scarce by the Oppenheimers and of course, de Beers.”

     What a pathetic, narrow-minded & bigoted statement. There aren’t enough wealthy ‘Jewesses’ in the world to fuel & sustain the multi billion dollar diamond industry! Owners of large diamonds include Arabs, Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Americans, Canadians & Australians of every religion & ethnicity so please keep your idiotic atavistic ethically bankrupt & morally vacuous opinions to yourself    

  13. …>DaftAida…BP indeed did polute ‘your’ oceans, I wonder if you have forgotten about Union Carbide and the thousands of deaths this US company inflicted upon the people of Bhopal in India…who unlike BP have barely paid a dime to it’s victims as it fights them in every court for any compensation at all…so a little humility before you launch an attack on a company that will be paying millions to the victims of the Gulf oil spill it was responsible for..

  14. This theorising business is a huge distraction for the indulgence of the privileged few; it is to makinds detriment that they follow intangeable theories whilst BP pollutes our oceans, the military toxifies our air with nuclear radiation and frankly, we haven’t mustered the basics of common sense respoonsible living on the planet where starvation, disease and of course the course, poverty are increasing whilst these sickly naval gazers count their stock options and seek life on another planet, as they’re fucking this one to kingdom come.

    It is true that ‘diamonds are a girls best friend’ if she’s a Jewess and can afford such glittery fripperies made scarce by the Oppenheimers and of course, de Beers.

    Where man and animal differ most is that animals cannot be sold into an ideology of self destruction.

    • why don’t you go and have another wank saddo?

      Seriously though, get out of your house, get laid, have some fun. Stop worrying about things you neither have the intelligence or commitment to actually change. Ce la vie, so get on with it.   

  15. Ok, if you would rather listen to someone that calls themself “jackmeoff” you probably should turn this off and go back to your coloring books and beer, if you enjoy real science presented by a fabulous, knowledgable, and witty physicist stay tuned. He explains quantum theory better than anyone I have yet seen, and I am an x-physics major that switched over to chemistry instead. I already knew the equations and different laws he spoke of, but his physical demonstrations really made them logical and easily understood. Besides, its entertaining to watch all these actors and so forth get up and try to help him, good laughs.

    • id just like to thank you for having a relevant comment about the documentary and host. not enough of them on here. and your right too, glad i watched

    • I agree, he’s widely regarded as a fantastic teacher and an intelectual. And as for him being a ‘wannabe hipster’….well before he became a professor he was in a very popular band in the UK, which makes me like him even more as he’s obviously had a varied and interesting life.

      I think ‘Jackmeoff’ is very sad and lonely…..and also a very angry man. As for the jacking off, i think he spends a lot of time doing it himself……probably using his own tears as lube. Poor thing. 

  16. Okay…..first, he goes off on a ramble about some of the world’s greatest scientists that spoke on the very same stage he is on….leading us to believe that he is on the same level as them. Pompous. Oh so very much a Brit. Then, he makes one of the world’s MOST ignorant claims that a rough diamond is “rare”. WTF? Has he no idea about De Beers and their control of the world’s diamond supply? This half assed physicist with the wannabe hipster hair style and made up punter looks wants us to take the hook line and sinker after this introduction? I think not. Turn it off NOW!! A waste of time….just more lolly water gagging shit from the establishment.