Professor Brian Cox has revealed he once had his very own frustrating meeting with a senior politician when explaining the genuine threat to our planet from a ‘violent universe’, much like Jennifer Lawrence’s helpless scientist in the new Netflix film Don’t Look Up.
The new movie stars Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as two meteorologists who discover a comet is on target to hit and obliterate earth but struggle to get the US president (played by Meryl Streep) to take it seriously launches on the streaming giant tomorrow.
The parallels between the president’s reaction to an asteroid hitting the planet and many politicians actual reaction to the world being under threat from a pandemic is alarming, to say the least.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, professor of physics Cox told hosts Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt that he has actually been in the position of Lawrence and DiCaprio’s scientists before.
Discussing the struggle getting science to always be heard with the severity it needs, Cox said: ‘We need to solve it because these things, as outlandish as they seem – an asteroid in this case – are a genuine threat and will happen at some point.’
After praising the Adam McKay film, Stayt asked: ‘Have you as a scientist been faced with, I’m not going to name names, but a politician and said, “Do you not get it? Do you not understand the things I’m saying?”’
Grinning, Cox recalled: ‘I was in a meeting once, I won’t say who it was now, where I found out they called me “intellectually aggressive” and they didn’t want to listen to me anymore, and that’s the thing – they just didn’t want to listen to me because I essentially told them what the level of our knowledge is and I was very clear.’
In Don’t Look Up, it soon becomes apparent for Lawrence and DiCaprio’s characters that simply passing along the science isn’t going to be enough to inspire top leaders to take action.
‘In the film [Lawrence’s character] was very forceful and the thing is you get more experience dealing with politicians.
‘You try to play the game and get your message across and you see Leo DiCaprio in the film doing that actually.’
Despite further pushing from Stary, sadly Cox refused to name and shame the MP.
He did disclose, however: ‘It was a previous government, not this one. But that doesn’t say much as they come and go so fast these days.’
Cox is about to embark on a nation-wide tour explaining the genuine threat from space, calling the universe ‘violent’.
He explained: ‘We don’t see it, we look up at the night sky and see those lovely stars and it seems nothing changes and we’re safe on this lovely planet and it’s an illusion.
‘You look back and obviously the famous one if 66million years ago when the dinosaurs were wiped out but there was one in 1908 in Siberia which hit over the first, it was only about 50 meters across, a little rock, the one in the film is 5 kilometres across, a little rick in Siberia and flattened 200 square kilometres of forest. It exploded with the power of many atomic bombs.’
‘These things happen,’ he said, stressing the only way to protect this planet is to ‘take these messages seriously’.
Merry Christmas, guys.
Don’t Look Up boasts an extraordinary cast, with Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet, Tyler Perry, Jonah Hill and Ariana Grande all joining DiCaprio and Lawrence.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One. Don’t Look Up is available to stream on Netflix from December 24.