Star shines in stellar lecture

Date published: 09 June 2011

YOUNG scientists from Oldham were treated to a fascinating talk by Chadderton-born physicist Professor Brian Cox.

Students from Oldham Academy North and North Chadderton School joined some 500 pupils from across the North-West at Manchester University for Professor Cox’s second Star Lecture.

The talk covered key areas including the importance of studying science and his love of physics.

Young people then took part in a question and answer session with the former Hulme Grammar student.

Speaking afterwards to the Chronicle, Professor Cox praised Oldham’s new £2.7m science centre, which opened to Oldham Sixth Form College students this week.

He said: “Oldham’s Regional Science Centre is a brilliant thing. Science is the way people move on no matter what background they’re from.

“Science is a path to the world, it’s entirely democratic. You can be a scientist or engineer as long as there are places like the Regional Science Centre.”

The 42-year-old Saddleworth-based professor, a former keyboard player in 1990s chart-toppers D:ream, is due to start filming his next BBC series, Wonders of Life, in September, which looks at the big questions in life from a physicist’s point of view.

In the meantime, the father-of-one will take his witty science-based radio show, The Infinite Monkey Cage, to the Glastonbury Festival on June 24 with political singer-songwriter Billy Bragg.

Speaking about the talk, Professor Cox said: “It’s remarkable that you can get an audience full of students at that age interested in particle physics and cosmology. That’s very gratifying.”

North Chadderton student Sanaan Shah (13) said: “It was a fascinating talk — some parts were pretty complicated, such as when he talked about quantum mechanics — but he makes science more easy to understand and you want to listen to him.”

Feiruz Abdullahi (15), from Oldham Academy North, said: “It was really interesting and we learned about things like supernovas.

“I was very impressed that he talked for over an hour with no notes.”