• Question: Do you think that people like Brian Cox have changed the way people view science?

    Asked by calhopemaginn to Chris, Dave, David, Fiona, Jack on 25 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Chris Mansell

      Chris Mansell answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      I think he has had a good effect on the way people feel about science. He seems to get them to be be more enthusiastic about it. Whenever I tell people I am a physicist, their first question to me is whether I have met Brian Cox!

    • Photo: Dave Farmer

      Dave Farmer answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi calhopmaginn,

      Yes, I think Brian Cox has. The best thing about him is that he’s unashamedly enthusiastic about science. Too often, scientists fall into the trap of try to MAKE science cool. It’s the wrong way to go about things. Science IS cool, we just need to show people that. I think the positive reaction to Brian Cox’s programs is proof that people respond well to things that make them think a little bit more about science.

      If the reaction of the students, such as yourself, that I’ve spoken to as part of this event is anything to go by, there is certainly an enthusiasm for science, we just need to convince more people to study it!


    • Photo: David Freeborn

      David Freeborn answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Hi calhopemaginn,

      Yes, I think so. Some people have pointed to the “Brian Cox effect”- a slight rise in people taking A-level physics (but this probably wasn’t actually caused by him, and he denies it).

      More seriously, yes, effective science communication really does change about people view science. I was inspired by scientists like Brian Greene and Carl Sagan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc) and I know Brian Cox has inspired many others.

      Brian Cox is great because he actually shows people the science, and the science is the star of his shows (even more than his personality). When people see science, they realise it’s fascinating and cool.

    • Photo: Fiona Coomer

      Fiona Coomer answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      I think people like Brian Cox have had a fantastic effect as it means that people aren’t as afraid to talk about science anymore, and don’t think that it is something purely for geeks. He is incredibly interested and more importantly enthusiastic, about the universe that we live in and I think that this rubs off on other people, which means that it’s not just experts talking and thinking about the most important problems in science.

    • Photo: Jack Miller

      Jack Miller answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi Calhopemaginn,

      Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s great to see more scientific documentaries on the telly, and Dr Cox is good at explaining things. I’m really pleased that he (and the shows) exist. However, he is still a bit of a stereotype — a white, middle-aged man with pretentious to being cool (he was in a band, don’tchaknow). Most of the people I work with don’t fit into that box. The thing about science is that it’s really the future of humanity — scientific understanding has really revolutionised our lives, and changed how everyone lives. Science is for anyone who can do it, and I think the public need to realise that (and that it’s important to have people doing science). It’s good to see that the BBC has actually got scientists explaining their own work — so I hope Brian Cox is just the first of many!

      — Jack