BBC Science Focus Magazine March 2021

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

I’ve lived most of my life online. From AOL to MSN Messenger to message boards to Zoom, the internet has given me the means to build relationships with strangers, friends and family that I couldn’t even begin to put a price on. It has introduced me to art, culture and people that my parents would never have been exposed to, and I’m the richer for it. But of late, the web is becoming a thing I peek at through the gaps in my fingers. Somewhere between countless data leaks, conspiracy theorists invading the Capitol and whatever Gwyneth Paltrow is selling these days, the web has started to lose its shine. As we seem to be reaching peak dissatisfaction with the web, we asked some of the leading voices in online culture…

1 min
on the bbc this month…

Mitchell On Meetings Meetings are a pox on those of us who work in offices. They litter our calendars and sap our energy. David Mitchell invites us to discover how to get the upper hand with the he of scientists and fellow comedians. BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, weekly from 13 March H₂O: The Molecule That Made Us Water underpins our very existence. This three-part series looks at how this molecule became the driving force of life, shaped human history and will ultimatelydetermine our future. BBC Four, April, check Radio Times for details Deeply Human Who are we? What makes us do the things we do? This 12-part series presented by Dessa Wander dives deep into the psychology, biology and anthropology of the traits we all share. BBC World Service and BBC Sounds, from 6 March…

1 min

MOYA SARNER A new trial is trying to find out if psilocybin is better at treating depression than antidepressants. Health writer Moya met the team to find out more. →p72 PROF AVI LOEB Was ’Oumuamua, the weird object that passed by Earth in 2017, a sign of alien tech? Astrophysicist Avi reveals why his research suggests it was. →p24 PROF SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE Thirty years ago, Tim invented the World Wide Web. Now, fearing a digital dystopia, he’s looking to upturn the system he created. →p54 DR JEREMY ROSSMAN As the UK’s vaccination rollout competes against the potential emergence of new, COVID-19 variants, virologist Jeremy race →p30 Does cracking your knuckles cause arthritis? →p79 CONTACT US → Advertising 0117 300 8287 → Letters for publication → Editorial enquiries 0117 300 8755 → Subscriptions 03330 162 113* → Other contacts…

1 min
want more?

Don’t forget that BBC Science Focus is also available on all major digital platforms. We have versions for Android, Kindle Fire and Kindle e-reader, as well as an iOS app for the iPad and iPhone. Can’t wait until next month to get your fix of science and tech? Our website is packed with news, articles and Q&As to keep your brain satisfied. LUNCHTIME GENIUS A DAILY DOSE OF MENTAL REFRESHMENT DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX Sign up to discover the latest news, views and breakthroughs from the BBC Science Focus team PLUS, A FREE MINI-GUIDE EVERY WEEK A collection of the most important ideas in science and technology today. Discover the fundamentals of science, alongside some of the most exciting research in the world.…

1 min
family resemblance

I read your article about baboons’ accents being analysed in the February issue of Science Focus (p28) and I thought that it was very interesting because I am learning Spanish and I realised that I do the same thing as the baboons when talking to the Spanish side of my family. I change the speed and the rhythm of my speech to match theirs. From this article I have really noticed how similar we are to baboons. Thank you, Science Focus. Aris Norman, age 7 and 5/6 Well spotted, Aris. Some scientists call this behaviour ‘the chameleon effect’. In humans, it’s an attempt to show the person we’re speaking to that we care. In baboons, it’s possible that it serves the same function. Daniel Bennett, editor WRITE IN AND WIN! The writer of next issue’s…

3 min
conversation BBC Science Focus, Eagle House, Colston Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4ST @sciencefocus @bbcsciencefocus A shot in the dark In ‘Mysteries of the Universe’ (January, p49) you suggest that “Maybe the Universe is filled with dark stars and dark planets and dark life!” I suggest this is extremely unlikely. The one thing that we can detect is the gravity dark matter has. If there was a planet in the Solar System made of dark matter, why has its effect on the orbits of the other planets not been detected? Our space probes often use the ‘slingshot effect’ of a planet’s gravity on their journey. Have any of them ever had to take into account the gravity of a dark planet? On the other hand, perhaps the reason we haven’t observed the speculated ninth planet is because it’s…