BBC Science Focus Magazine

BBC Science Focus Magazine Summer 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
Read More
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

Fifty years ago, on 20 July 1969, humans first set foot on the Moon. It was a moment that captured the world’s imagination like no other, inspiring a generation of scientists, engineers and artists alike. Sadly, a few years later, as priorities – and, of course, money – shifted away from the Moon, Gene Cernan would unwittingly become the last person to walk across the lunar surface in 1972, and one of the last people to leave a low-Earth orbit. In the time since, our exploration of space, particularly in the last decade, has exploded. Okay, so we might not have put our feet on other worlds, but in the last 10 years we’ve visited the outer limits of our Solar System, observed Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, landed on an…

1 min.
on the bbc this month...

Television The Sky At Night Special: The Moon, The Mission And The BBC The world’s longest-running science TV programme celebrates the 50th anniversary. Guests include Helen Sharman, Britain’s first astronaut. Check Radio Times for details. Television Stargazing: Moon Landing Special Brian Cox will be joined by Dara O Briain, Hannah Fry and Kevin Fong, in this 90-minute special episode. Check Radio Times for details. Television 8 Days: To The Moon & Back Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Apollo 11 mission. 8 Days uses digital effects and dramatised performances to bring hours of declassified audio from the missions to life. Check Radio Times for details. COVER: ANDY POTTS THIS PAGE: NASA, BBC X2, GETTY IMAGES…

1 min.

AMY SHIRA TEITEL How do you practise walking on the Moon? Spaceflight historian Amy looks at the training methods that put Apollo astronauts through their paces. p36 JAMES LOVELOCK On the eve of his 100th birthday, the man who first proposed the Gaia hypothesis shares his new theory with us. p56 DAVID SPIEGELHALTER If you believe the papers, sugary treats and processed food are going to kill you. Well it’s not quite as simple as that. David helps us navigate the headlines. p32 ROSIE MALLETT ‘E-noses’ – electronic devices that can sniff out disease – could soon be helping us pick up signs of illnesses, years before they can be detected by current methods. Rosie tells us more. p73…

1 min.
eye opener

Putting the art in AI OXFORDSHIRE ,UK Meet a pioneer of the art world: Ai-Da. She’s the first robot artist able to draw from sight. The brainchild of Oxford gallery director Aidan Meller, Ai-Da’s body was created by Cornish robotics firm, Engineered Arts. Her head is made lifelike with silicone skin, 3D-printed teeth and gums, and individually punched hair. The secret to Ai-Da’s artistic prowess lies in AI algorithms, developed at the University of Leeds, that process the information captured by her camera eyes and send instructions to her mechanical arm. Ai-Da can sketch people in pen and pencil, and also creates abstract artworks such as those shown here. For these, her artistic output is passed through further algorithms, printed on canvas and painted over by a human. Ai-Da’s first London show is…

1 min.
letter of the month

Chasing sunlight I regret that your answer to the question on flying round the world in daylight is incorrect (May, p83). Yes – if you left at noon and arrived at noon. However, if you took off at dawn and arrived at sunset then you have 36 hours to make the trip and would only need to average the speed of sound. Since you say it has been completed in 33 hours, it is more than theoretically possible. David Glover You’re right, it is theoretically possible. The time needed to make the circumnavigation in daylight depends on both the time of take-off and the plane’s speed relative to the Sun. A conventional airliner would need at least 44 hours to circumnavigate the equator, while the Sun takes just 24 hours. So the plane…

3 min.

reply@sciencefocus.com BBC Science Focus, Eagle House, Colston Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4ST @sciencefocus www.facebook.com/sciencefocus @bbcsciencefocus Power problems With regard to your article on Chernobyl (July, p36), there is a certain irony. I read a recent article, in The Telegraph business supplement, suggesting that the Russian Nuclear Energy Agency – Rosatom – was doing well, setting up reactors in a variety of Third World states. It is only in the West that the difficulties occur; as illustrated by the German decision to ban nuclear power following Fukushima, even though the chances of a Tsunami striking Germany seem decidedly low. In fact, there seems to be a considerable degree of irrationality and ignorance when it comes to nuclear power – you will probably have seen the badge featuring the Sun with a smiling face and the words ‘Nuclear Power…