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BBC Science Focus MagazineBBC Science Focus Magazine

BBC Science Focus Magazine February 2016

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


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Let me introduce you to the new BBC Focus . For the last six months we’ve been in the lab, experimenting on a new look. Like any good experiment, this process all began with some in-depth research. We met and talked to hundreds of our readers to rediscover what makes BBC Focus special, and interestingly, one word kept coming up: wonder. Whether you want to know why the sky is blue or if we’re alone in the Universe, curiosity is a lifelong passion. You want to know what makes the world tick and what it will look like in the future. Our job is to fuel that curiosity and reward it with dispatches from award-winning photographers and writers from around the world. In practice, I hope, the result is something that’s…

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in this issue

LORD MARTIN REES Martin is the current Astronomer Royal, making him the perfect person to tell us what we should be looking for in our quest to find alien life. Read our interview with him in our cover feature. p40 ROBIN INCE Comedian Robin is a familiar voice on our radio, co-presenting The Infinite Monkey Cage with popular physicist Brian Cox . We’re thrilled to welcome Robin to our pages as our newest BBC Focus columnist. p51 JHENI OSMAN Our new ‘Science in the city’ feature asks key scientists to share the best spots in their home city. Jheni, a keen traveller and science journalist, catches up with Cédric Villani in Lyon this month. p106…

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masked men

Some of us may smear mud packs on our faces to improve our looks, but not these guys. Hailing from Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, the Asaro mud men resemble something from a twisted nightmare. The legend surrounding their appearance claims that when an enemy tribe attacked, they ran to the nearby Asaro River to hide. They waited until dark before emerging covered in thick mud, unaware that their attackers were still there. Upon seeing the eerie figures materialising from the darkness, the enemy tribe fled, believing them to be vengeful spirits. Rumours spread that they were imbued with the supernatural powers of the river spirits, so the crafty elders decided to capitalise on this and created a new dress code for their warriors. To further the…

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a history lesson

I was surprised that 1932 did not get a mention in the ‘Best of the rest’ in your 2015 review of the year (Christmas, p32). In this momentous year, several significant discoveries were made in physics which contributed greatly to our understanding of the relationship between matter and energy and of the structure of the nucleus. 1932 saw the construction of one of the first particle accelerators by Irish physicist Ernest Walton and Englishman John Cockcroft, which they then used to bombard lithium nuclei with a beam of high-speed protons, thereby achieving the first artificial splitting of a nucleus, as well as verifying Einstein’s famous E=mc equation by experiment for the first time. In February, James Chadwick made his first observations of the latest sub-atomic particle to be discovered – the…

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more focus for you

Don’t forget that BBC Focus is also available on all major digital platforms. We have versions for Android, Kindle Fire and Kindle e-reader, as well as an award-winning iOS app for the iPad and iPhone, so you can get your fix of science knowledge wherever you go. Special issues THE BIG BOOK OF WHY We know that our Q&A section is one of your favourite parts of BBC Focus, so pick up a copy of this special edition – it’s stuffed full of answers to all your burning questions. THE UNIVERSE: THE STORY SO FAR Barely a week goes by without some thrilling discovery about the Universe hitting the headlines. So we’ve compiled everything we currently know about the cosmos into The Universe: The Story So Far.…

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sharing memories, the quantum way

We may still be a long way from Star Trek-style Vulcan mind melds, but we could soon be teleporting memories from one living thing to another. An international team from Purdue University, USA and Tsinghua University, China has published a paper detailing a potential method of teleporting quantum information, or ‘memories’, between two bacteria. The technique relies on a phenomenon known as quantum superposition, in which particles exist in all possible states simultaneously until they are observed and fall into one known state. The most famous example of this was described in Erwin Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment in which a cat is locked inside a box rigged with a poison delivery system triggered by a chunk of radioactive material. If the material decays, the poison is released and the cat dies;…