BBC Science Focus Magazine May 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

When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? By that I mean: you said goodbye to the waking world an hour or two earlier than usual, left your phone in another room and didn’t set an alarm for the next morning. Sounds good doesn’t it? But in reality, it’s something few of us ever indulge in. You might even feel like our sleeping hours are under threat. Celebs and self-proclaimed lifestyle gurus often boast about how little they sleep – productivity comes first. And how many of us are guilty of bringing our smartphones into bed, where a few TikToks or tweets quickly turn into hours of lost sleep? And let’s not get into how the pandemic has wreaked havoc with our sleeping patterns.. Unfortunately, while we all struggle…

1 min
on the bbc this month...

Rockets In The Desert Don’t miss the repeat broadcast of this 2014 report on the Mojave Desert – the ‘Silicon Valley of space’. Journalist Richard Hollingham speaks to the entrepreneurs, engineers and rocket scientists attempting to build a new industry of private spaceflight and exploration. BBC Radio 4 Extra and BBC Sounds, 5 May, 2:30pm Climate Change: Ade On The Frontline Ade Adepitan visits the people on the frontline, whose lives have already felt the effects of the climate crisis. While the damage being done can be upsetting to witness, there is hope to be found in the innovative actions of affected communities. Available now on iPlayer CrowdScience The CrowdScience programme is a must for lovers of our Q&A pages. This month, the experts answer questions including ‘Why is learning stuff harder as you get older?’. The…

1 min

DR PETE ETCHELLS Many video games offer rewards via loot boxes. It keeps players coming back for more, but is it too close to gambling for comfort? Psychologist Pete investigates. →p66 IAN TAYLOR A former deputy editor at Science Focus, Ian left to work for a health title. But we’re not bitter, it’s just coincidence that we got him to find out about poo. →p32 DR MELISSA STARLING During the pandemic, many of us have spent more time with our pets, but how will they cope when we’re in the office? Dog expert Melissa explains how you can help them. →p30 DR SARAH BERRY If, like us, you often find yourself snacking between meals, it could be in your blood. Literally. Nutritionist Sarah tells us why. →p26 CONTACT US Advertising 0117 300 8287 Letters for publication Editorial enquiries 0117 300 8755 Subscriptions…

1 min
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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 MINIGUIDE 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.…

2 min
eye opener

The lab in a lake LAKE BAIKAL, SIBERIA The hunt for mysterious, high-energy events in space is starting somewhere unexpected: at the bottom of the deepest lake on Earth. Russian scientists are creating a huge neutrino detector 1,300m under the surface of Lake Baikal in the mountains of Siberia. Their quarry: subatomic particles that are difficult to detect because they interact so weakly with gravity and matter. The telescope, called the Baikal Gigaton Volume Detector, is made of dozens of pressurised glass spheres, each containing photomultiplier tubes that can detect Cherenkov radiation – a flash of light generated when neutrinos pass through water. “It’s the optical equivalent of the sonic boom you get when an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound,” says Dr Susan Cartwright, a particle physicist at Sheffield University. Rare, high-energy neutrinos…

1 min
letter of the month

Red Planet ready? I find the idea of going to live on Mars interesting and have written some science fiction about it, but the idea of building five cities each with a population of 200,000 by the end of the century seems hopelessly ambitious (March, p44). Building the Channel Tunnel took the removal of 4.9 million cubic metres of material according to but Nüwa alone would require 187.5 million cubic metres of tunnels. Building such a city might be possible, but surely it would take centuries? Alan Paine I understand the scepticism. Indeed, there would be major technological challenges to overcome – not just the tunnelling. Muñez stated that to have it finished by the end of the century would require “the right financial resources and the right will.” Even so, with…