BBC Science Focus Magazine

BBC Science Focus Magazine October 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

This will surprise no one, but I’m not a fan of diets. My feeble self-control means that any diet I go on is doomed to fail. Still, with a few notable exceptions, studies show that diets rarely lead to lifelong change. So I’ve given up on them. That said, I do think about what I can do to age healthily: to keep my fleshy husk out of hospital and make sure my mind stays in good nick. And it looks like there might be a new school of thought that even I can get behind. The more you eat, the healthier you’ll be. Unfortunately, I don’t mean eating more in terms of quantity, but more in terms of variety. You are what you eat, the old adage goes, and if you…

1 min.
on the bbc this month...

Crowd Science: Is A Vegan Diet Better For Your Health? What effect does eating meat and dairy substitutes have on your health? The team goes vegan to find out. BBC World Service, 27 September, 8:30pm. Arctic Academy A group of teens from West Lothian take part in an expedition to the North Pole where they’ll see the effects of climate change first-hand. BBC Scotland (available on iPlayer), 5 October. The Art Of Innovation Sir Ian Blatchford and Dr Tilly Blyth at the Science Museum present this Radio 4 series exploring the often overlooked relationship between art and science. BBC Radio 4, 16 September. COVER: MAGIC TORCH THIS PAGE: GETTY X2, THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE SCIENCE MUSEUM…

1 min.

JOCELYN TIMPERLEY In this new regular section, climate and energy reporter Jocelyn gives us the lowdown on the latest environmental news. p22 DR LUCY MADDOX Feel like you need a brain upgrade? Clinical psychologist and writer Lucy looks at the promise – and potential pitfalls – of brain-computer interfaces. p72 DR STUART CLARK A joint mission between NASA and ESA will intercept and hopefully change the trajectory of an asteroid. Astronomy writer Stuart finds out exactly how they’ll do it. p64 DR SAMANTHA ALGER Wild bees are under threat. But what can we do to help them? Ecologist Samantha explains what her research has uncovered. p58…

2 min.
eye opener

Hell hole KARAKUM DESERT , TURKMENISTAN The Darvaza gas crater, aka ‘The Gates of Hell’, has a mysterious past. It is thought to have formed in the 1960s, when engineers drilled the site for natural gas. The sudden upward movement of gases caused a dramatic cratering – the Darvaza crater is 69m wide and 30m deep – and released gas into the air. “About 10 years after the cratering happened, it was still venting gas,” says Mark Ireland, a lecturer in energy geoscience at Newcastle University. “So local geologists purposefully lit it to burn off the gases.” The crater was expected to burn for a matter of days, but is still alight now, some four decades on. And it’s hard to predict when the crater will burn out. “We’re missing a lot of scientific data…

1 min.
letter of the month

Good handwriting I greatly enjoyed reading your feature ‘Digital vs analogue’ (Summer, p62). As a millennial, I’ve been brought up with technology, and at university in 2012 everyone had a laptop. I’d often sit through lectures surrounded by the sound of fingers tapping away on keyboards, but I never saw the appeal. There is a value to handwriting. We are forced to move more slowly, which gives us time to think and to absorb the information we’re presenting. I know not everyone will share my passion for handwriting, but the practice has worth. Perhaps we should start to think more about how digital and analogue can work together. Technology has some amazing strengths, but sometimes, it helps to take a step back, move a little more slowly and think before we write. And yes,…

2 min.

“BEES PROVIDE ONE OF EVERY THREE BITES OF FOOD. THEY PROVIDE POLLINATION SERVICES FOR MOST OF THE FOOD WE EAT”SAMANTHA ALGER, p58 Generation game In response to your podcast episode ‘What does a world with an ageing population look like?’, I think we already know. It’s clear that today’s young people feel we are living too long and that older people feel on the outside of today’s society. For example, try to buy suitable traditional clothing and shoes for older people – it’s as if they don’t exist any more. Also, go in any supermarket and most of the food items on display are geared to families with the modern tastes. Veronica E Williams, via email ‘It’s what the cool kids do’ In ‘The truth about E-cigarettes’ (Summer, p22), Prof John Britton mentions that the…