Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins, has released Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe for iPad, which is not related to Stroika’s app of a very similar name. Even though Wonders of the Universe is a companion to Cox’s television series aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation, the iPad app isn’t just for fans or United Kingdom residents, but for anyone who has interest in astronomy and astrophysics.
Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe for iPad allows exploration to the edges of the universe, all the way to the inner workings of atoms. Within the seven categories, you’ll find more than 200 articles on numerous topics, two-and-a-half hours of video footage from the show, and hundreds of high quality images.
The main user interface is quite astonishing, even on my iPad 2, and offers multiple ways of browsing the vast content. At the top is the category navigation bar and search button, articles at the bottom, and celestial bodies displayed in the background.
One of the things that may not be obvious is the interactive characteristics of the background. In an artistic appreciation, you can navigate the universe using the common swipe, pinch, and expand gestures, plus single tap to hide or hide the navigation bars. See the power of a black hole or gaze at the intensity of a pulsar, all rendered live using Other Media‘s amazing three-dimensional graphics engine.
Getting back to the informative content, I’ll quickly go through the tutorial with you. Choose any one of the categories from the upper navigation bar and then look at the bottom of the screen. It’s probably best to view the articles in order, though it isn’t a requirement. To begin an article, simply hold the preview image with one finger and drag upwards. From here, you swipe upwards to progress. To close an article, drag it out of the top or bottom of the screen.
When you come along a video or image, it will go fullscreen when centered. If the image happens to be part of a gallery, you’ll be able to swipe left or right to view additional images. In the case of videos, the clip will begin playback automatically and a single tap will show the onscreen controls. There is one catch; videos are streamed and, therefore, require Internet access via a Wi-Fi connection.
In addition to the seven primary categories, the universe to sub-atomic particles, Wonders of the Universe also includes the full text from the associated Collins’ published books, Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe.
Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe is compatible with the second and third generation iPad running iOS 5.0 or later, and available in the App Store at the introductory price of $6.99 / £4.99.