BBC Knowledge India

BBC Knowledge India

April 2018

BBC Knowledge is a magazine for young inquisitive minds where well-researched, handpicked stories are matched with breath-taking visuals to cover science, history and nature.Written by renowned International and Indian experts, its wide range of features provide rivetting and up-to-date information on topics as varied as technology, archeology, natural history and space exploration. With material meant to stimulate the mind, BBC Knowledge looks to empower a generation of young readers.

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in this issue

2 min.
from the editor

THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT, THE FUTURE IS DAZZLING. Particularly in this issue of BBC Knowledge... Mission into the Sun, our cover story, tells of how two different solar missions are getting set to stare down the most lustrous orb in our solar system and return to tell the story. The other future-forward feature, Where’s My Flying Car?, puts down new timelines on innovations that are only just coming into their own, while Unlocking the Secrets of the Brain details the fascinating advances that can be expected as scientists work with mini-brains in lab dishes. This issue, we also bring you innovations unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2018, and there’s a great story on The Science of Fighting Fat as well, which takes a long, hard look…

10 min.
q&a your questions answered

WHY IS AIR INVISIBLE? Air is made up mostly of nitrogen and oxygen molecules that are spread too thinly to affect light noticeably by, say, altering its colour or intensity. Even so, air’s presence is revealed in hot weather through the shimmering effect called ‘heat haze’. This is the result of the heat causing fluctuations in the density of the air, which, in turn, affects its optical properties. RM WHY DO OYSTERS MAKE PEARLS? It’s an immune response designed to protect the oyster from a parasite or an injury (not just a grain of sand as is commonly believed). Cells from the mantle of the oyster form a pearl sac around the irritation. The pearl sac then secretes calcium carbonate and conchiolin protein that builds up in layers to form an impermeable barrier.…

1 min.
...when i get a cut?

Your skin’s most important job is to keep out the billions of harmful bacteria that swarm over every surface. Any wound that penetrates the dermis layer and causes bleeding will allow bacteria to get in, so we have evolved a precisely coordinated mechanism to seal up the gap as quickly as possible. The healing process uses extra collagen protein for the repair, so the new skin is actually stronger than before. This shows as a visible scar. SMALL CUT 1. HAEMOSTASIS When the skin is punctured, blood vessels contract and platelets release fibrin proteins that tangle together to form a clot and seal the wound. 2. INFLAMMATION Next, the blood vessels expand again to allow white blood cells to flock to the wound site. These attack any bacteria that got past the clot. 3. PROLIFERATION After a…

1 min.
the mri machine

With its ability to image the internal organs and functioning of the body without using X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ranks as one of the biggest medical breakthroughs, and its development led to a Nobel Prize in 2003 for two scientists: Paul Lauterbur of the State University of New York, the USA, and Peter Mansfield of the University of Nottingham, England. But within a month of the prize being announced, a full-page advert appeared in The New York Times insisting MRI was actually invented by a New York doctor named Raymond Damadian. MRI exploits so-called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in which hydrogen nuclei in our bodies are first gripped by powerful magnetic fields, then stimulated into producing radio waves. As these signals are affected by the nature of the tissue,…

2 min.

Flamboyant flock LAKE NATRON, TANZANIA Lesser flamingos, Phoeniconaias minor, flock en masse above an African salt lake. The water can reach temperatures of more than 40°C and is alkaline enough to burn human skin, but this doesn’t bother the birds, who gather to feed on the nutrient-rich bacteria and shellfish found on its shores. The smallest of the six species of flamingo, lesser flamingos are highly nomadic and move between suitable breeding and feeding sites according to changes in weather conditions. They are highly gregarious birds and gather in large groups bound together by intricate and elaborate social structures. “Pairs or trios or small subgroups will feed together and remain in close proximity without squabbling. Rival flamingos, or those that do not get along, will squabble, joust with bills and necks, or…

1 min.
‘rainbow dinosaur’ may have had glittery feathers

JUST call it the disco dinosaur. Caihong juji, a newly-discovered duck-sized dinosaur that lived around 160 million years ago in what is now China, had a vibrant rainbow crest and iridescent hummingbird-like plumage, a team of international researchers says. The finding was made following the analysis of an immaculately-preserved C. juji fossil – a name meaning ‘rainbow with big crest’ in Mandarin – first discovered by a farmer in northeastern China in 2014. The feathers on the fossil are so well preserved that the researchers were able to determine their minute colour-bearing structures. “When you look at the fossil record, you normally only see hard parts like bone, but, every once in a while, soft parts like feathers are preserved, and you get a glimpse into the past,” said Chad Eliason, who…