A few years ago, the only celebs who appeared on TV to popularise science were men like Professor Heinz Wolff or Sir Patrick Moore - aged, donnish figures with outrageous accents and their wise heads framed by tufts of snowy white hair. But recently, that’s all changed.
Nowadays mainstream edu-tainment is provided by the glamorous likes of heartthrob physicist Brian Cox or charming anatomist Alice Roberts. Heck, even Mock the Week-hosting funny-man Dara O’Briain has taken pains to demystify maths and science for the man in the street.
But there’s still one more modern-day populariser of science who, in terms of profile at least, trumps the lot: Benedict Cumberbatch.
Yes, when the Sherlock star’s not hanging out with Stephen Hawking or testing the forces of nature for himself, he’s using that rich, sonorous voice of his to narrate science documentaries.
The latest of which is this new “giant-screen” show called Supervolcanoes, which has been produced by online astronomy video service SpaceRip.
Supervolcanoes is billed as a 25-minute “unique immersive experience”, which shows audiences the impact of super-charged volcanic eruptions on Earth and other planets through the magic of CGI.
It was recently featured at the 2012 Fulldome UK conference at the National Space Centre in Leicester, and is currently showing at the planetarium of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in the States.
There’s as yet no word on whether the show will be made more widely available to the British public, but interested parties can get a quick look at the show – and hear Cumberbatch’s voiceover – in the trailer below.
(By the by, it’s a round image because Supervolcanoes is designed to be shown on the kind of domed projection screens commongly found in planetariums.)
Good, no? Though I wonder how long it’ll be before some YouTube-bound Sherlock nut edits the audio of this over the planetarium scene from The Great Game…