category_outlined / Science
How It WorksHow It Works

How It Works No. 117

Welcome to How It Works, the magazine that explains everything you never knew you wanted to know about the world we live in. Loaded with fully illustrated guides and expert knowledge, and with sections dedicated to science, technology, transportation, space, history and the environment, no subject is too big or small for How It Works to explain.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
Read Morekeyboard_arrow_down
13 Issues


access_time1 min.

“The clouds of the Ghost Nebula look like human figures fleeing from a phantom…” Creepy cosmos Doctor Who celebrates its 55th anniversary when it returns to our screens this month. The hit show is the world’s most prolific sci-fi series, with over 800 episodes, a movie, spin-off shows and millions of dedicated fans all over the world. But it’s not all fantasy – some of the principles explored in the series, from time travel to regeneration, have links to real-world scientific concepts and technologies. Also this month, we prepare for Halloween with our spooky special, revealing the science behind freaky phenomena. Meanwhile, over in the history section we tour the Tower of London to reveal its chilling history as both a palace and a prison. October also…

access_time1 min.
meet the team…

Charlie G Production Editor I was rather intrigued to read about out-of-body experiences in this issue. I reckon if I had one I’d be beside myself! Baljeet Research Editor To celebrate the 60th anniversary of NASA this month we take a look at some of its greatest achievements (page 42). Charlie E Staff Writer A ferocious prehistoric predator, with a giant head, huge horns... and tiny, useless arms? Meet the Carnosaurus on page 58! Scott Staff Writer Double double, toil and trouble, tongues and worms make cauldrons bubble. For potions deadly every time, head over to page 39. Duncan Senior Art Editor From Daleks to Weeping Angels, this issue’s Doctor Who special is fraught with…

access_time1 min.
meet this issue’s experts…

Ella Carter With a marine science degree, Ella is fascinated by our oceans. She writes about all aspects of the natural world, from blue whales to barnacles. James Horton Former HIW member James is a biochemist and biotechnologist. He is currently doing a PhD in machine learning and evolutionary theory. Jo Stass Jo has been a writer and editor for over six years. She is particularly interested in the natural world and technological innovations. Jodie Tyley The former Editor of HIW and All About History has tackled many topics in her career, from science fiction to science fact and Henry VIII to honey badgers. Jonathan O’Callaghan With a background in astrophysics, former HIW and All…

access_time1 min.
simulation promises rain for the sahara

The new study has shown that a combination of solar and wind turbines could change the weather of the Sahara With its blistering sunshine and strong winds, the Sahara attracts numerous energy projects, but new research suggests that these wind and solar farms are doing more than just producing clean renewable energy. “We found that the large-scale installation of solar and wind farms can bring more rainfall and promote vegetation growth in these regions,” explains Eugenia Kalnay from the University of Maryland, US. “The rainfall increase is a consequence of complex land-atmosphere interactions that occur because solar panels and wind turbines create rougher and darker land surfaces.” A modelling technique has revealed that the environment around the turbine blades and solar panels may be transformed, which…

access_time1 min.
the cycles of the sahara

Some specialised plants are still able to find a way to survive in the arid conditions of the Sahara The Sahara is hot, dry and mostly devoid of any vegetation. The central and eastern parts see almost no rainfall at all. But this is just part of the wet and dry cycle that this ancient piece of land undergoes every 41,000 years. Changes in the North African climate cycle occur as the Earth’s tilt varies between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees. The Sahara will naturally become green again in an estimated 15,000 years, but until then half of the desert will receive less than 2.5 centimetres of rain per year, while the rest receives up to ten centimetres. ■…

access_time1 min.
‘siberian unicorn’ skull discovered in kazakhstan

The Elasmotherium is an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros that lived in Eurasia during the Pliocene and Pleistocene eras Tens of thousands of years ago, a real-life unicorn walked our planet. But these creatures weren’t like the magical glittering equines of children’s books. Instead, they were shaggy-haired giants, each with a long single horn extending from their forehead. The Siberian unicorn (Elasmotherium sibiricum) would have stood at roughly two metres tall, 4.5 metres long and weighed roughly four tons – think mammoth rather than horse. The almost perfectly preserved skull of one of these beasts was discovered in 2016 in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan. Researchers expect the animal was a very old male, but they have not established a cause of death. Using radiocarbon…