From quavers to quasars

Science couldn't ask for a better PR coup. The keyboards player of a chart-topping band is forced to choose between continuing pop stardom and a career in physics - and opts for quasars over quavers.

Brian Cox, 28, still occasionally plays with his former band, D:REAM, but has no doubt that his future lies in science, not music. Now half- way through a PhD at Manchester University, he is spending a year in Hamburg, working on the DESY particle accelerator.

Even while a full-time member of D:REAM, Brian used the band's glamorous status to promote physics to children. The video for the group's single, "Party Up The World", was filmed inside Jodrell Bank space telescope.

Brian is convinced that school physics can be fun, though the juicier aspects are often kept out of reach in favour of "bulbs and batteries". Music, he says, can be used to show the fun side, while "sneaking the physics in by the back door". With a grant to continue his promotional efforts, he has big plans: "I'd love to get Oasis playing on top of Europe's biggest particle accelerator ..."n

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