Dear Prof Cox CBE, I’ve Forgotten Why The Clocks Change…

Hello to all my loyal subjects, aka the Coxettes, it’s your beautiful & modest Prof Brian Cox CBE here. Yet again I am using my unimaginably high IQ to improve your lock-down lives. Twice every year I get asked the same question, or a crass variation on, why do the clocks change… As i’ve answered it numerous times let me just copy and paste my enlightening reposte from many years ago. That way I can get back to watching Strictly whilst zooming my celebrity pals….

The answer to why do “the clocks change” in Autumn and Spring is, like so many of today’s conundrums steeped in mystery, but I can tell you now that once again it’s down to our old friends the Romans. (Who were an ancient people all of whom were born in Rome).

We have to go back to 103BC when the Roman’s lust for entertainment was at it’s height, and audiences we were especially keen on timed gladiatorial fights. The only problem was no one could actually time them as time itself was yet to invented. The promise of time had been bandied about about for centuries ever since a Greek had mentioned it in passing, but no one could actually define it. The roman people were growing restless and wanting to pacify them Roman Emperor Julius Timius demanded that someone invent time and set it as a competition. Many scientists and philosophers tried and failed, but one day a lowly scribe, Minitus Hourius, noted that maybe time could be described as “the duration between the sun rising and setting”, and “that if divided into smaller bits such as hours and minutes things could at last be timed.” Through trial and error over many months it was found that daylight could be divided into 12.03 hours with each hour being roughly 60 minutes long (the 24 hour day and seconds would not be invented for another 200 years). At last citizens could time gladiator battles and were very happy, young Minitus was even given his own chariot as way of thanks … but a few years later unrest returned. Because the daylight hours weren’t exactly 12 hours long every six months there was a whole spare hour left over that no one knew what to do with (hence the expression “to have time on your hands”). Once again it was our friend Minitus who came good and his solution was to put the clocks backwards in Autumn, and to maintain decorum, forward in the Spring. A tradition that continues to this day.

So there you go, another Did You Know This fact complete. Thanks, Prof Brian Cox CBE.


Professor Cox’s Did You Know This: Why Do We The Unemployed Celebrate The Longest Day At Stonehenge?

Hello to my devoted socially distancing Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous (still Covid-19 free) leader Prof Brian Cox here, and i’m back answering your (almost) scientific questions…

I’m answering this one a few days early as I want to spend the rest of the week and weekend topping up my beautiful tan. Saturday will, as you probably know, be “the World’s Longest Day” and all over the globe people of all religions will be celebrating, but the question i’ve been asked is “why is Stonehenge the most popular place that dwarves, witches and the unemployed flock to dance naked at sunrise on June 21st, or is it the 20th? And what’s with these old stones anyway, do they have any use?”

You are correct that Stonehenge is apparently the most popular destination, but many other sites attract such low life on the same day, including our very own Hammerite standing stones. Stonehenge actually draws the most people due to the parking, abundance of toilets and the chance to get on TV dancing with gay abandon.

The question of what is the purpose of Stonehenge is one that’s been open to debate for many centuries… Some say it was a burial site, a place of worship or perhaps even an ancient “rock themed” funfair. I myself am inclined to believe it was once a cafe & service station for cave men & women due to the fact it was sited close to the A303, itself an ancient trading route between Exeter and Belgium. This would also account for the fact there’s still a visitors centre on the site. I believe the longest day would have been significant because the cafe would have stayed open late (opening times would likely have been at sunrise to sunset) and they probably also had some good offers on, perhaps 10% off a bison burger or BOGOF on animal furs and dinosaur eggs (good for omelates)…

So there you go, another Did You Know This Longest Day fact ticked off for twelve months. I’m off to do a zoom call with HRH The Queen as she no doubt wants to bitch about some of the wayward members of her family. Keep safe, keep well, Prof Brian Cox.

Prof Cox, Why Has Covid-19 Cancelled Tomorrow’s May Day… Come To Think Of It Why Do We Even Have May Day?

Hello to my devoted lock-down Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous Covid-19 free mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and i’m back answering your (almost) scientific questions… This week i’ve had a lot of emails, scented letters & postcards asking about “May Day.” First question I will answer is why we actually celebrate the day… This is because since at least the time of the dinosaurs the first Monday of May has always been a day to skive off work (or in the case of cavemen to lay off hunting bison and rabbits), to do a little “spring cleaning” then drink, eat vast quantities of cake, dance and fornicate. It’s one of our oldest festivals and celebrates Spring; when the flowers bloom, the clocks change and little lambs are born. It is celebrated the World over, but it was us Brits who invented it although the Greeks and Romans claimed they did. In some places it’s called Labour Day, because traditionally lots of babies were born on this Monday. Or at least a couple of weeks either side… The next question was why has it been cancelled? Well, it’s not actually been cancelled just delayed until this Friday. This is so PM Boris Johnson can be fully recovered from the virus and have a drink or three to celebrate having survived and also become a Dad for the 15th time… Coincidentally it also falls on the 70th, or 75th, anniversary of VE Day so we can all drink and fornicate even more. With this in my mind i’m going to go online to order lots of drink and sexy underwear for myself. Stay safe, keep well, Prof Brian Cox.

What’s So Good About Good Friday Prof Cox?

Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your gorgeous fine-boned mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and for the second or third time this week i am attempting to answer a religious question (in future let’s stick to science)… Today i’ve been asked “why is Good Friday so good?” Once again I tried ringing the vicar to get his insight, but I fear he may be screening his calls, so i’ve relied on the internet to answer this. That did throw up some total rubbish, such as it was originally God’s Friday (with no explanation why God thought to take this Friday for himself). But I wasn’t put off and the answer I thought most likely is that it’s actually a misspelling and shortening of Leftover Food Friday. If you saw my post about Maundy Thursday you’ll know that the Thursday before Easter the Christian leader Jesus had a few friends over to his house for dinner, wine and a knees-up… Then, the next morning he rustled up a rather splendid brunch using the leftovers, and the original “leftovers” name was born. It is also believed one of the dishes he cooked was a rather good omelette, which is why we give eggs… God knows when it became Good Friday (although it is a rather good day), and why are the eggs now chocolate? With in my mind i’m going to go online to order some large Belgian eggs, yum. Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.

Why On Earth Is Maundy Thursday Called Maundy Thursday?

Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your devilishly handsome mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and I have to admit, that for the first time one of your questions has completely stumped me. I do have a good excuse in that it’s not a scientific question but rather a religious one… But normally I know everything so am perturbed I can’t answer. The question that’s thwarted me is “why on earth is Maundy Thursday so named?” My first port of call was online but that threw up total rubbish, although it did inform me that the day is in remembrance of the Christian’s leader, Jesus, having a “last” supper for some friends and for some reason instead of washing their hands before eating he cleaned his guests feet… And bizarrely I can find no scientific reason for doing sot! Anyway, the Thursday bit of the name is obviously because the meal was on the evening before Friday morning, but I found no hint of what Maundy means? I even tried ringing our local vicar but he didn’t answer nor does he have an answerphone or email address… So I am flummoxed and can only only guess it’s a misspelling, perhaps of laundry Thursday or quandary Thursday (apt if Jesus didn’t know what to cook). And on that note i’m going to have a zoom call with my good friend Boy George, perhaps he’ll know the origin of the name? Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.

Please Stop Wasting The Time Of A Handsome Genius

Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your stunningly attractive mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and i’m writing because i’m unhappy. Not only am I having a very rare bad hair day (a bad hair week in fact as my hairdresser isn’t able to visit apart from squeezing hair gel through my letterbox).  On top of that I am amazed at the mass of stupid questions I am getting every single day. Lockdown has increased the volume of such inane queries so much that I am now forced to say cease fans! STOP NOW!!!! I am ok with serious, scientific questions but will no longer engage with covidiots. The following extract is the sort of rubbish jamming up my inbox, stopping celebs, such as Bradley Walsh and Sir Elton, getting in touch me…

Dear Paddy Cox (sic), can you help? Last night I put our kitchen clock forward by an hour and the hour-hand fell off. Why has this happened? Could it have caught Corona Virus? Can you come round and check on it? Hopefully, if it’s germ free could you glue it back on?

Firstly don’t call me Paddy. It’s Professor to you. Second, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer says clocks can’t get the virus. Yet. Thirdly, In case they can i’m not coming round to fix it! Fourthly I’ve run out of glue. Besides which I am so busy with my online celebrity life that emails like this tire me out. So STOP sending them to me! Thank you

I’m off now to discuss hair products with my dear friend Claudia Winkleman on zoom.  Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.

Dr Brian Cox's Bad Hair Day

(Above) Brian Cox suffering from a bad hair day and answering inane questions

Dear Prof Cox Why Did The Lovely Dinosaurs Die?

Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your manicured mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and although i’m about to take a “beauty nap” before attending a celebs only Skype call with Prince Charles, i’m contractually obliged to write you this missive…Therefore, I’m once again using my immense knowledge of the universe to improve your lives. Today’s question came from a young lad called Neil, who wants “help” with his school homework. He says he and his chums are all going to be schooled from home for a while as the C-Virus has closed their school. I’m guessing a lot of children will be wanting “Uncle” Brian’s help in the coming weeks. Watch this space… Anyway Neil wants know “What Killed The Dinosaurs”

Firstly, to give you some context  I shall give you some background information about the dinosaurs. They roamed the earth about 5 or 6 thousand years ago. I say roamed as they didn’t live in houses nor were they kept in cages or fields like today’s animals. Farming and zoos hadn’t been invented yet. These lumbering giants were constantly on the move, apart from when they slept, looking for the next meal. Just like humans dinosaurs were all different, some were tall, scruffy and thin, some short, big boned & sexually inactive, others colourful & beautiful with great hair & teeth making them very attractive to the opposite and same sex, rather like me. Many ate meat, some ate fish and whilst others were strict vegans… But what they all had in common was a lack of wings. They simply couldn’t fly.

And it was this stupid inability to learn to fly, or even to invent aeroplanes, that made them extinct. How come Uncle Brian? I hear Neil and all the young people ask…

Let me take you back in time to dinosaur time. For hundreds of years every creature was very happy. There was low unemployment, plenty to eat and the world was warm and sunny most days. Even when it rained everyone was happy. Dinosaurs probably didn’t wash much and the rain was natures way of making them have a well deserved shower (sadly without soap). But one day the dinosaurs looked up to the sky, it was darkening and sun was becoming blotted out. They probably discussed amongst themselves what it could be? Clouds? An old satellite falling to earth, or perhaps the moon doing one of those eclipse things it did every now again just to annoy them. In the end the dinosaurs decided to run and hide. But the meteorite was so big there were no good places to hide… Not even caves or mud huts could shelter them. So sadly they all perished due to a large rock being fired at the Earth by aliens. In just one morning, afternoon, or early evening they were all wiped out. Dead.

Had they been able to fly (or had helicopters), they would have survived simply by flying out of harms’ way and sitting in trees… If they’d had that one skill, or a pilots licence, they would be around today. That is why we have birds today, they could fly out of the way and survive…And before you ask we still have fish and sharks because the meteorite missed the sea by a few miles. Lucky that, imagine a world without fish & chips or Jaws!

So there you go, another “Did You Know This” fact complete. I’m going to get off now, grab a quick forty winks, wash my hair and get onto my laptop to join Prince Charles and other clever celebs in creating a cure for Corona Virus  Keep well, Prof Brian Cox.

Prince Charles & Brian Cox 2

(Above) An artist’s impression of Prof Brian Cox, Sir Prince Charles and celebrity chums finding a cure for Corona Virus using the prof’s DNA

Dear Prof Cox Why Do We Have A Shortest Day?

Hello to my Coxettes, it’s your handsome, well groomed mentor Prof Brian Cox here, and although i’m busily directing my servants to correctly dress my new Christmas Tree and then i’m attending a celebs only Christmas party, i’m contractually obliged to write you this missive…Therefore, I’m once again using my immense knowledge of the universe to improve your lives. Today, is known as “the shortest day” but how many of us know why? The answer isn’t easy to come by and we must venture back to the time of the baby Jesus to find out… But not literally, I can’t time travel. Yet.

In the time of Jesus no cared, or had probably notice, that each day or week were different lengths… Some days could last 26 or 27 hours, sometimes just 17 hours, weeks could go on for weeks… and they lost count of how many months were in a year or when to start or finish a year. Time was in a right old mess. And it was not helped by a lack of clocks, or watches (no one had smart phones so that way of keeping time alluded them). But one day a wiseman who’d followed yonder start to visit the baby Jesus decided enough was enough. He is quoted in the bible as saying “Due to a lack of accurate time keeping i’m not sure if we wisemen are early for the birth, just in time, or days late… We’re as dumb as the shepherds who’ve come for a gander” It was the latter statement that clearly rattled the wisemen… Something had to be done. And Jesus’s dad Joseph, being a carpenter, was called upon to help the wisemen build a time-piece. Joseph jumped at the chance, he was looking for an excuse to get back to work, leave his wife Mary and their baby and get back into his wood working shed (they were not the enlightened PC times we live in now)…

After a month or two (no one is sure how long as time was only created when the time piece was finished) the large clock was finished and set to 12.00 GMT. Thats when time began. The wisemen divided days into 24 hours and hours into 60 minutes, with each minute being one minute long (seconds weren’t invented for a few thousand years after, as the clock didn’t have a seconds hand). People were very grateful that the wisemen had invented time, they now knew when to go to bed, when to get up, eat, go to the toilet even celebrate birthdays… but as is often the way after a few years people grew bored and restless of regimented time.

To remedy this the wisemen decided that some days could be shorter than others, it added some fun to time keeping. And the Bible tells us they were fun guys, always playing tricks and telling blue jokes. So a handful of days were chosen (at random) to be a few minutes, or hours shorter… The shortest was chosen to be on the baby Jesus’s birthday. A sort of belated present. Unfortunately they got the date slightly wrong, but no one really cared. They were just pleased to have some different length days. And that is why today is considerably shorter than yesterday or tomorrow.

There you go, another “Did You Know This” fact complete. I’m off to the hospital now as I’m giving some of my DNA (from my beautiful luscious hair) to the NHS to cure all illnesses. Happy Christmas, Prof Brian Cox.