Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe is a gorgeous educational and reference app that takes you on a tour of the universe with Professor Brian Cox -- a particle physicist, Royal Society research fellow, and professor at the University of Manchester. You may also know him as the science broadcaster and presenter of the highly popular BBC2 series Wonders of the Solar System.
When you first launch the app, you're presented with a brief, informative tutorial on how to use the app, then placed in the middle of the universe, out in space. You can pinch and zoom and scroll around to explore different galaxies, planets, stars and nebulas -- all of which is stunning to look at and in motion -- or you can select where you wish to go from the menu at the top of the screen. The included topics are sub atomic, atomic, Solar System, stars, Milky Way, galaxies, and universe.
When you choose a topic to explore, the chapters will appear in a scrollable menu at the bottom of the screen. As you scroll through the chapters, the screen will zoom into the area of interest. To dive into a chapter, you just drag it up into the middle of the screen. The chapter will not become full width. Instead, it appears as a column in the center of the screen so that you can still see the universe behind it. I really like this -- it gives you the sense of floating out in space while reading.
As you scroll through the chapter, you'll encounter images, infographics, photography, and videos. When you do, the media will automatically resize to full screen so that you can really enjoy it and get engaged. When you're done viewing the media, just simply continue scrolling and the app will size it back down and smoothly continue on with the chapter.
Brian Cox is the presenter in the videos, and I must say, he's awesome. Every video I've watched has made me feel like I'm watching a TV show on the Discovery Channel. They are so well done that it actually makes me want to watch and learn more. As I read through the chapters and watch the videos, I become more thirsty for knowledge of the universe and Solar System.
When you reach the end of a chapter, just continue to scroll, as if pushing the chapter off the screen, and you'll jump right back into space so that you can move on to the next chapter.
I'm not sure if I've ever been able to confidently say that an app was perfect before, but Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe is. It's perfect.
- 200 interactive articles
- 2.5 hrs worth of video
- Hundreds of infographics, photographs, and images
- Over 50 3D models
- Brian Cox is awesome
The bottom line
Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe is literally one of the best iPad apps I've ever encountered. It's a phenomenal educational tool that has the perfect mix of video, images, text, and hands-on interaction.
I rarely comment on the price of an app, but this one should be going for at least $10, so the $6.99 promotional price is quite a steal.