Hello? Hi, is that Professor Brian Cox? Can I have a portion of ‘telling it like it is’ please! Professor Brian Cox has definitely been telling it like it is.
The scientist has been running his mouth in the build-up to the 100th episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage.
The BBC Radio 4 comedy has been hosted by Cox and comedian Robin Ince for just under a decade.
They intend to celebrate their milestone show with guests such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Alice Roberts.
But in an interview with IFL Science! Cox had some pretty black-and-white words for humankind, saying:
It’s very unlikely a large asteroid will strike us. We know about most of the really big ones, if not all of them, the dinosaur-level extinction-event asteroids.
But we don’t know about the city killers, the small country killers. But the biggest threat I really do think is still human stupidity, or however you want to put it.
I still think the most likely way we’ll wipe ourselves out is nuclear war, either accidental or deliberate. The long-term threats yes, science can deal with them. But it’s the short-term threats, those between humans.
He also kinda hates Mars, or at least the prospect of living there:
Mars is a horrendous place to live. It will take a very special type of astronaut. It’s very different from going to the Moon or sitting on the International Space Station, where you’re always a few hours away from Earth.
Psychologically, no one has been that far from Earth. And we’re talking about months, perhaps a year from Earth. And I think that’s a challenge that we don’t fully understand.
However, he did had nice words for the late Stephen Hawking, saying:
Stephen was unique, he was one of the great scientists of his generation undoubtedly. But also, he made a profound contribution to public engagement.
He was iconic, and that’s important, to have an icon who’s a scientist. He was still making contributions scientifically right up to the end of his career. So we lose that.
But we also lose probably the most iconic scientist in the world. And that’s essentially irreplaceable.
Cox was inspired to become a physicist aged 12 after reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan in 1980, based on the 13-episode TV series of the same name.
In 2005, he was appointed as a professor of particle physics at Manchester University, a position he still holds. He was a Royal Society University Research Fellow from 2005 – 2013.
He presented the popular five-part BBC Two series on television Wonders of the Solar System in 2010, and a follow-up four-part series called the Wonders of the Universe the following year.
In 2012, he presented the BBC series Wonders of Life in which Cox describes a physicist’s view on natural history. He also presented both BBC series Human Universe in 2014 and Forces of Nature in 2016.
He received an OBE for services to science in 2010, the President’s Medal from the Institute of Physics in 2012, and the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize in 2012.
What a guy!
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