I’d been wanting to see Brian Cox live for quite a while when the tickets went on sale in late 2017. So I snapped up a couple for myself and Carol and eagerly awaited the date in February. Too eagerly, as it turned out – I’d got ahead of myself and the actual date wasn’t until February 2019.
So a year later and the big night is almost upon us when Carol points out that I had the wrong date in the calendar and we should be going on Tuesday, not Wednesday. Imagine being a year early and then almost missing it by a day?!
On the night of the
Hiccups and dinner behind us we headed through the rain and over the walkway to the Hydro to be taken aback at how busy it was. Thousands of people swarmed the base of the giant saucer trying to figure out which entrance to use with their ticket. Curiously, we were told to go to the one in the centre and then traipse back round in the direction of the very left hand door in order to get to our seats.
No matter, we were seated to the left of the stage a good ten minutes before the lights darkened and the man himself appeared out of a trench to the rear of the stage.
Brian started by saying how heartwarming it was that 9,000 people had come out on a wet Tuesday night to discuss cosmology. And he was right – it was heartwarming, in this era of celebrity culture and mind numbing entertainment on TV, that thousands of us had made the bold decision to come to, essentially, a lecture!
And that got going quick, with some weighty concepts thrown out for our minds to comprehend with the aid of a massive video screen displaying spectacular visuals. Cosmology, for me, has always been awe inspiring. The sheer scale of distances between the galaxies and the incredible size of those, in turn, really stretched my mind as a child and it was with similar wonder that I sat being coaxed through the evening by “The Fonz of Physics.”
What’s spellbinding is how effortless it seems to digest all the stuff that has come from the minds of people like Einstein. And not even recently – some of the things Brian talked us through were century old theories that been the grounding for modern cosmology.
Yet somehow he made these concepts approachable. Despite the vastness of space and time, he, somehow, effortlessly held our hands and walked us through the foundations of how we had come to understand the universe.
As the evening drew to a close I kept thinking just what an incredibly good teacher Brian Cox comes across as. Not only does he know his stuff, he talks about it with a conviction and a sense of ease that coaxes out a safe, childlike joy of discovery. He’s a teacher who isn’t mad at you for not quite understanding and that makes everything seem okay.
When the night was over my concentration was just about shot, but I was left with the satisfied feeling that my mind had been treated to something wonderful. I hope that somewhere in space & time I’ll be able to attend another one of his live shows.