Brian Cox's tense Twitter row with Piers Morgan over Big Bang: 'Can't explain!'

Brian Cox will star in another installment of Universe on BBC Two tonight, as the professor discovers the dramatic history of the Milky Way. He explains how our galaxy endured multiple collisions as rival galaxies fought for survival. The physicist is well known for his fascinating insight on all things Science, and he is no stranger to the most complex of talking points. Professor Cox’s intellectual prowess was put to the test in 2018, however, when he found himself in a debate with former Good Morning Britain star Piers Morgan.

The journalist, in typically provocative fashion, explained on social media why he is not an Atheist.

He said: “Atheists can never say what was there before the Big Bang. They just say ‘nothing’ but they can’t explain what ‘nothing’ actually is.

“No human brain can, which is why I believe in something that has superior powers to the human brain.”

This is where Professor Cox jumped in, saying there are some possible explanations as to how the Earth could have come from “nothing”.

He responded: “If you mean the Hot Big Bang then there may have been a period of rapid expansion before known as inflation.

“This theory is able to account for observed features of the universe, including the CMB power spectrum and the flatness and horizon problems.”

Piers then asked Professor Cox: “OK, but that still doesn’t explain what ‘nothing’ is? What was there before ‘inflation’?”

The physicist hit back: “We don’t know. The universe might be eternal, there may be no beginning. We need (at least) a quantum theory of gravity.

“But the laws of Nature as we understand them today are compatible with the Universe simply existing. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why not?

“That the Universe could simply exist, and yet not be eternal, is not a trivial statement; as far as we can tell the total energy of the Universe is zero!

“This is from observation coupled with Einstein’s GR (general relativity). That means physical law is compatible with Universe having a beginning.”

Professor Cox doesn’t shy away from lively debate, even when it is about Brexit.

READ MORE: Piers Morgan hits back at swipe from Jeremy Vine show

“You’re not necessarily right – but you’re more likely to be right than someone who’s not spent their life studying it.”

As the pandemic hit the UK in March last year, Professor Cox also argued that the UK’s departure from the EU should be delayed until after Covid-19.

He tweeted: “Brexit is a self-indulgence from another age. It should be shelved for an indefinite period until we have dealt with the long-term economic and social fall out of COVID-19.

“There can be no justification for imposing a second, voluntary shock on the country in early 2021.”

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