BBC Science Focus Magazine October 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
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
from the editor

I have to admit science fiction novels are where my love of science really started. As a teenager, William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Ursula K Le Guin and a dozen other authors got me more excited about science and technology than any non-fiction book ever could. And I’ve got a hunch that many of you might feel the same way. That’s why for this issue we’ve decided to dive into what looks to be the science fiction event of the decade: Dune. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, it is returning to the silver screen in October. This is exciting for two reasons. First, Villeneuve’s track record with Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 demonstrates he’s something of a maestro when it comes to taking science fiction to the movies. And second, Dune, more than…

1 min
on the bbc this month...

Nature And Us What can history’s greatest artworks reveal about the state of the Earth? This new series, presented by James Fox (pictured) explores our relationship with the natural world, as told by prehistoric cave paintings through to modern art. BBC Four Available from 11 October Bad People In the new series of this podcast, criminal psychologist Dr Julia Shaw and comedian Sofie Hagen are back to cast a forensic eye over some of the most shocking, intriguing and unimaginably criminal acts. BBC Sounds Released throughout October The Life Scientific Prof Jim Al-Khalili is joined by a fantastic panel of guests for the 10th anniversary of The Life Scientific. Paul Nurse, Ottoline Leyser, Christopher Jackson and Hannah Fry (pictured) are just some of the experts joining him for the decade’s celebration. BBC Radio 4 9am, 12 October COVER: MAGIC TORCH THIS PAGE:…

1 min

DR PAUL BYRNE As we close in on a so-called Planet Nine, planetary scientist Paul makes a convincing case for Pluto to reclaim that title. →p24 DR JULIA SHAW Between the internet horror stories and the rise of social media, it feels as though narcissism is on the rise. Criminal psychologist Julia examines the social psychology. →p32 PROF DAVE GOULSON Almost every ecosystem on the planet depends on insects, but their numbers are dwindling. Insect expert Dave tell us what might happen next. →p68 ANDY RIDGWAY Every week, we find out more about how helpful microbes are to our health. Science writer Andy discovers how we can give these old friends a hand in our homes. →p72 CONTACT US Advertising 0117 300 8287 Letters for publication Editorial enquiries 0117 300 8755 Subscriptions 03330 162 113* Other contacts COVER: MAGIC TORCH THIS PAGE: BBCX2, GETTY IMAGES, ALAMY, DANIEL…

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 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

That sinking feline MAASAI MARA, KENYA When photographer Buddhilini de Soyza stood on the side of Talek River in Kenya, she saw across the torrential waters, on the opposite bank, a group of five male cheetahs. Called Tano Bora or ‘the magnificent five’ in Maasai, the group are unusual: cheetahs tend to be solitary. In January 2020, as the river and nearby savannah were overcome by rain and flooding, the Tano Bora saw their prey on the other side of the Talek. “It took them hours to find a place to cross,” says de Soyza. “A couple of times the lead cheetah waded into the river, only to turn back.” Then, suddenly, he jumped in. His group slowly followed, until they were swimming towards de Soyza. To her relief, they all emerged from the river. “The…

1 min
letter of the month

Microbiomes and missing gnashers In August’s issue you reported that Dr Bei Wu and colleagues had found a link between tooth loss and declining cognitive function (p20), speculating that difficulty chewing leads to nutritional deficiencies in the brain. There may be an additional factor to consider: the gut-brain axis. Without dentures, people may avoid foods that require considerable chewing, such as nuts or high-fibre fruits and vegetables. As these foods aid intestinal bacteria, which play a key role in the gut-brain axis, this would ultimately affect behaviour and cognition. It would be interesting to analyse the participants’ microbiome and, perhaps, monitor how the results are affected by introducing foods that benefit the gut. Georgina Hawkins (age 14)…