BBC Science Focus Magazine

BBC Science Focus Magazine July 2019

With accessible features illustrated with the world’s best photography, BBC Focus Magazine explains the theory behind scientific phenomena and really brings science to life. In every issue you’ll find news of the latest major scientific developments, a lively Q&A section plus exclusive and astonishing photographic reports that range from the breathtaking to the downright odd.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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13 Issues

In this issue

1 min.
from the editor

There’s never been a better time to be a dino hunter. As new dig sites open up around the world, scientists are virtually tripping over near-pristine fossils, identifying totally new species every week. And with each discovery, the past vision of scaly beasts lumbering across vast plains has started to come into sharper focus, revealing a vibrant world populated by the kind of rich biodiversity we see in the wildest places on Earth today. In particular, we’re really starting to understand what these creatures looked like. It’s a crucial part of the picture, since we know that an animal’s appearance is usually a response to the world around it: some species find success in camouflage, while others find flamboyance more useful. So as we start to resolve the finer details…

1 min.
on the bbc this month...

Radio How are we evolving? Can household microbes hurt us? Could dark matter harbour dark life? Tune in to Crowd Scienceon the BBC World Service to find out what the team will answer next. bit.ly/crowd_science BBC Sounds Don’t miss Kevin Fong’s brilliant podcast, 13 Minutes To The Moon, with score from Hans Zimmer (!), in the run up to the Apollo anniversary. bbc.co.uk/sounds iPlayer The showstopping Earth From Space uses cutting-edge satellite and drone tech to give you a unique perspective of the Earth, including a seal colony in Siberia. bit.ly/earth_from_space COVER: MAGIC TORCH THIS PAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK, GETTY IMAGES, BBC…

1 min.

PHILIP BALL Could exoplanet atmospheres reveal hints of distant life? Science writer Philip looks at the research that’s recreating this alien air on Earth. p72 DR JULES MONTAGUE Kleine-Levin Syndrome is a little-understood disorder where people sleep for up to 20 hours a day for weeks on end. Neurologist and writer Jules investigates. p66 DR SALEYHA AHSAN CBD oil is the latest health craze to sweep the nation, but is there any science to back up its claims? Trust Me, I’m A Doctor presenter Saleyha takes a look. p32 PROF NICK BERESFORD The huge success of the drama Chernobylhas inspired adventurous tourists to visit, but is it safe? Nick has been studying the site for three decades. p36…

1 min.
eye opener

Bugs bunny AFRICA With its snub ‘nose’, fuzzy hair and large eyes, this moth looks decidedly bunny-like. The African death’s-head hawkmoth, which has a wingspan of up to 12.7cm, is so-named because of the skull-like pattern on its back, which was made famous by the 1991 film The Silence Of The Lambs. Its compound eyes are made up of as many as 30,000 smaller units (called ‘ommatidia’), allowing them to detect rapid movement, while the hairy body is an adaptation for flying at night. “In the insect world, moths are unusually furry – especially the night-flying ones,” says entomologist Prof Adam Hart, from the University of Gloucestershire. “The hairs help them to conserve heat – important during cooler nights – and also to disperse bat sonar, making them harder to catch.” Plasma doughnut GREIFSWALD,GERMANY Physicist Dr…

2 min.

reply@sciencefocus.com BBC Science Focus, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol, BS1 3BN @sciencefocus www.facebook.com/sciencefocus @bbcsciencefocus Two wheels bad I was a bit disappointed in Daniel Bennett’s response to the letter from M Manley regarding irresponsible cyclists (June, p10), where he seems to imply that he would rather see more irresponsible cyclists on the roads than drivers. I appreciate that this is based on the damage caused by a vehicle accident, but I would like to point out that (apart from stolen vehicles, obviously) all drivers are traceable, whereas cyclists are not. The sooner there are national registration and licensing schemes for cyclists and their bikes the better. The argument trotted out against this is that it would put people off cycling, but I have yet to hear of anyone being put off having a car because of the…

3 min.
letter of the month

Language barrier I would like to register how much I appreciated and valued Angela Saini’s insight into the embedded racism in science and other areas of our lives (June, p48). I was taken aback to realise that I too had an ingrained element of racism that I was unconsciously practising in my daily life. I live in East Anglia where there are thousands of immigrants from eastern European countries and Portugal working in the agricultural and food sectors. By and large, they are indistinguishable from the majority of the population in terms of their looks and behaviour. So how was I able to regularly categorise them as being Polish, Romanian, Latvian, etc. By one thing only: their languages. The interview helped me realise that I was immediately categorising them as different. If they…