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HEROES: Oliver Jeffers meets Professor Brian Cox

Artist and children’s writer Oliver Jeffers talks to physicist and science presenter Brian Cox on how to make sense of the world for young and old alike.

Throughout 2017 The School of Life will host a unique series of life events called HEROES, in which we explore how people influence and learn from one another. We invite one of the central figures of our times to nominate a personal hero from a different field – a cultural icon whose work they have long admired from afar. Then we bring the pair together on stage for a unique and rich conversation.

Oliver Jeffers’ work is celebrated for the way his illustrations and stories conjure a sense of magic and curiosity. From books about a boy helping a lost penguin (Lost and Found) to his laugh-out-loud classic (Stuck), he brings a sense of wonder and possibility into the lives of his many young readers. But his latest challenge has come – not in imagining something fantastic and wonderful – but in trying to explain the world, in its simplest terms, to his two-year-old son. Here We Are tries to look at the planet through fresh eyes and explain the complexity of humanity without losing the enchantment of a child’s perspective.

Physicist and popular television presenter Brian Cox is no stranger to this same task. In his informative science programmes, he has managed to explain complicated ideas using relatable metaphors and simple language. Joining up the unseen principles that inform everything which happens on Earth and making them understandable and exciting for adults and children alike. He often reminds his audience that Physics has dated the universe at over thirteen billion years in age, and – from that perspective – our time on Earth is both exceedingly small and extremely precious. It’s a challenging idea to impart to a young person, but an important one all the same.

Oliver has invited Brian to join him on stage so that they can discuss what it means to see the bigger picture: in Physics and in fiction. As a father, he is concerned with how we live on the Earth, the message that we offer to our children and how we can help future generations understand that everything we do in our shared world will impact others. So join us for an event that brings together a wonderful artist and story-teller with a scientist who knows how to tell us how enchanting life already is.

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