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BBC Science Focus MagazineBBC Science Focus Magazine

BBC Science Focus Magazine February 2019

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
優惠 The week´s top pick!
13 期號


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China has made the Moon exciting again. At the start of the year, the country’s space agency dropped a lander and rover on the far side of the Moon, a place we’ve photographed but never visited. Named Chang’e 4, the mission is up there now studying the geology of the Moon’s surface. It’s even doing a bit of astronomy, from its uniquely quiet viewpoint. What it finds will help us understand the Moon’s past: how it formed and why the far side is so different from the bit we see. But perhaps more excitingly, Chang’e 4’s roving could tell us what’s in store for the Moon’s future. By digging into the Moon’s geology, particularly on the far side, Chang’e 4 could spot vital resources. On the one hand, there are precious…

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eye opener

Odd one out MARION ISLAND, INDIAN OCEAN Surrounded by a sea of fluffy king penguin chicks, this solitary adult would never make it as a spy. He’s found himself in the midst of a group of chicks known as a ‘crèche’, part of a large breeding colony on Marion Island (located roughly halfway between South Africa and Antarctica in the Indian Ocean). “King penguin chicks form these crèches when they’re about one month old,” says Dr Antje Steinfurth, penguin expert at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science. “It helps to protect them from predators, provides extra warmth and allows both parents to go off to find food at the same time.” After a couple of months in the crèche, the chicks are almost fully grown. By this time, the chicks have gained enough body reserves…

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wanted: schrödinger’s cat – dead and alive

I wonder if Erwin Schrödinger had any idea that his use of the dead/alive cat thought experiment would echo down the decades as it has done. Quantum mechanics is not an easy ride for professional physicists, let alone the rest of us, but Brian Clegg did a really good job in his article in the January issue of explaining this most counterintuitive of subjects. He set out the difficult ideas on entanglement and superposition by supporting them with experimental evidence. The thing I’m interested to find out is did Schrödinger really believe in the possibility of superposition, or was he using the somewhat ridiculous cat idea because of his aversion to the notion itself. Perhaps there is another reason, which is rooted in his competition and desire to cast doubt on the…

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Gravity over time In the January edition’s Q&A, you featured the question ‘why does time seem to go faster as we get older?’ Further to the answer you printed, I’ve always understood that it’s because everything tends to go faster when you’re going downhill! Ian Hutt, Little Chalfont, Bucks Better food from better sources Michael Mosley’s approach to going vegan [as described in his column in the January issue] depends upon science and a larder of ingredients from around the world – something that’s only recently become possible. But humans have evolved to be omnivores. Here in Wales much of the country can only grow grass, so we use sheep to eat the grass and then eat the sheep. It’s what humans have evolved to do. I suggest that the debate over food should not…

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first plant grown on the moon

On 3 January China’s Chang’e 4 became the first lunar probe to land on the far side of the Moon. Two weeks later, the probe achieved another first when it sent back a grainy photograph showing tiny green shoots sprouting from a cotton seed stored inside its Lunar Micro Ecosystem biosphere experiment. The success was short-lived, however: on 16 January it was reported that the shoot had failed to survive the freezing temperature of the lunar night. None of the other organisms on board – potatoes, rapeseed, mouse-ear cress, yeast or fruit fly eggs – showed any signs of life and the experiment was called off just a few days into its planned 100-day stint. “THE SUCCESS WAS SHORT-LIVED, HOWEVER: ON 16 JANUARY IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE SHOOT HAD FAILED TO…