Brian Cox presents Stargazing Live for the Solar Eclipse 2015: What you don't know about the man who knows everything

From his most embarrassing moment (it involves tartan), to his Oldham childhood of bus spotting and playing keyboard instead of studying

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The Independent Online

Pepper-haired fox Professor Brian Cox is the cool, calm and entirely appropriate face of the 2015 eclipse.

The man who initially found fame as the keyboard player in Nineties pop band D:Ream (no, he won't let Miliband use his anthem), before going on to become an OBE-awarded Professor of particle physics, will be guiding the UK through every moment of the lunar event, as the moon blots out the sun between 8am and 11.50am London time.

It’s generally known that the Professor is a man of extraordinary intelligence (as well as charm, good looks and soothing diction. Moon? What moon?). He’s an advanced fellow at the High Energy Physics group at the University of Manchester. He’s currently working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider near Switzerland on a research and development project of the FP420 experiment, which sounds really impressive but we honestly have no idea about.

 

He’s co-authored several books, including the inspired Why does E=mc2?. He also masterminded BBC series Wonders of the Universe, Wonders of Life and The Sky At Night.

But there are some things you might not now about the man  who seemingly knows everything. Allow us to enlighten you.

He was kind of terrible at maths at school…

Probably because he was too busy tinkering away on his Korg for D:Ream when he should have been hitting the books. Of his maths A-level, he told Jonathan Ross: “I got a D... I was really not very good ... I found out you need to practise.”

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He’s not as calm, cool and ruddy collected as he appears…

“The other side of me that people don’t tend to see,” he told the Guardian in October, “the side that argues.”

He won over his wife, Gia Milinovich, with a ‘cool Cern email address’…

She loves science, apparently. He married the film producer behind Sunshine, 28 Weeks Later, and The X Files: I Want To Believe, in 2003. They have a son, George, together. He also has a step-son, Moki, from Milinovich’s previous relationship.

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And Gia’s left hook is probably far more terrifying than his is…

“I threw everything into it like a heavyweight does,” she wrote of the time she fought off a burglar who broke into their Battersea home last year.  “A big, full-bodied, ‘you’re going fucking down! My fist shoulder and whole body are going straight through your fucking head’ whallop.” Read the rest of that amazing anecdote here.

His son’s middle name is ‘Eagle’…

Yes, after the Apollo 11 lunar module.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2012 by a sci-fi legend…

None other than Captain Jean Luc Picard, Sir Patrick Stewart.

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He enjoyed a childhood growing up in Oldham filled with dance, gymnastics, plane spotting…

And, erm, bus spotting, apparently. It’s a thing. His earliest memory, he once recalled, was “playing in his Grandad’s back garden”.

This is apparently the most embarrassing moment of his entire life…

He’s wearing a tartan waistcoat, to be fair.

And he thinks Johnny Depp should be the man to play him in a film …

“Johnny Depp playing Willy Wonka playing me,” to be precise.  Oh, and according to this, his favourite word is “nobber”.

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