This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Space bonanza to land in Manchester

Starlight graphic

The Age of Starlight will catch both the eyes and the minds of the audience. (Courtesy: ESO/P D Barthel)

By James Dacey

Whatever punters make of the Manchester International Festival (MIF) next year, they certainly won’t be able to accuse it of thinking small. Among the first commissions announced today is a “world-first show about the origin of the universe and everything within and without it”.

The Age of Starlight will be presented by the physicist and TV personality Brian Cox, who will tell the story of the unlikely events that have led to our existence. Details of the show are still scarce but we do know that the space bonanza will feature computer-generated imagery created by the Oscar-winner Tim Webber and the special-effects team behind the film Gravity. The event will be brought to life with technologies developed by Magic Leap, a Florida-based IT company that specializes in “magical” computing solutions.

“Over the last two years, we have dreamed up a genuinely radical and truly experimental project, at the very limits of what is possible,” says Alex Poots, CEO and Artistic Director of the MIF. “It’s a risk, but one worth taking,” he adds.

Launched in 2007, the MIF is a biennial cultural event described by the New Yorker magazine as “the most radical and important arts festival today”. The event showcases new works from across the spectrum of the performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. The Age of Starlight will not be the first time that a science-inspired spectacle will feature prominently at the MIF. In 2011 the Icelandic pop star Björk played the festival to launch the world tour of her album biophilia – an interactive concept work inspired by natural history.

Cox, who conceived the idea for the The Age of Starlight along with Peter Saville and Alex Poots, is no stranger to the performing arts himself. In the 1980s and 1990s he played keyboards with the pop groups Dare and D:Ream before deciding to focus on his passion for physics. He has since become a particle-physics researcher at CERN, as well as presenting a number of popular-science programmes such as the Wonders series on the BBC.

In fact, Cox will bring together his expertise in music and science for a night at the Royal Opera House in London next week. At the event called “What makes the perfect song”, Cox will explore the links between physics and the perfect song. Physics World journalists will be attending the event, so look out for a report on this blog.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text