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BBC Science Focus Magazine December 2020

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
R 99,40
R 896,18
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
from the editor

It turns out our Solar System is a pretty hospitable place. That’s been one of the major narratives of the last decade as probes and rovers have stretched out across space and got to know the planets and moons that surround us. Clearly Earth is something special, but it seems that between the Martian rivers, the lakes on Europa and the seas of Enceladus there are plenty of niches in our cosmic neighbourhood where life could take a foothold. Despite this, it came as a huge shock when, in September, scientists announced that they had found the signature of a chemical, usually produced by living things, floating in the clouds of Venus. Indeed, it was such a surprise, that a paper was put out almost immediately disputing the data. Either…

1 min
on the bbc this month...

The 2020 RI Christmas Lectures This year, three experts - geologist Chris; Jackson, physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski, and environmental scientist Tara Shine - present their take on a ‘user’s guide to life on Earth’. BBC Four, check Radio Times for info Nature Table Christmas Special Sue Perkins is joined by comedians and wildlife lovers for this special episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme celebrating the natural world and its weird and wonderful flora and fauna. Friday 25 December, 17:00-18:00 Brian Cox at the Barbican What does it mean to live in a small, finite life in a possibly infinite, eternal universe? Brian Cox and the BBC Symphony Orchestra bring music and science together to try to find the answer. BBC Radio 3, check Radio Times for info…

1 min

DR DOUGLAS VOKOCH We’re listening for aliens, but what if aliens are listening for us? Douglas, the President of METI wants us to start a conversation with ET. He tells us what he plans to say on SUE NELSON Aliens have never been far from the public consciousness. Science journalist and former BBC presenter Sue digs into why they have such a hold on our PROF LEWIS DARNELL It turns out we might not have to visit a Galaxy far, far away to discover alien life. It could be right on our cosmic doorstep. Astrobiologist Lewis gives us the run down PROF DAVID GARCIA As anyone on regular medication knows, keeping up with your treatment plan can sometimes be an issue. We speak to David about his high tech, parasite-inspired CONTACT US ➔ Advertising sam.jones@immediate.co.uk 0117 300 8145 ➔ Letters for publication reply@sciencefocus.com ➔…

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. www.sciencefocus.com SPECIAL ISSUE OCEANS: THE INCREDIBLE SECRETS OF OUR BLUE PLANET In this special edition, the experts from BBC Science Focus don their diving kit and take the plunge into the depths of the oceans, to reveal more about the incredible world beneath the waves. buysubscriptions.com/focuscollection…

1 min
eye opener

Happy hour NORTH AMERICA At just 8cm long, the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) has a tongue almost as long as its body, allowing it to reach nectar from night-blooming agave plants. It’s one of only three nectar-feeding bat species in the US. When it feeds, the bat gets covered in pollen, which it carries to another plant, cross-fertilising it in the process. This mutual relationship between the bats and the agave has evolved over time. The juices of agave plants are distilled to make tequila. So great was the demand for the beverage, that workers began cloning the plant, instead of allowing natural bat pollination, and harvesting the agave before it flowered. Bat numbers declined, and the cloned plants were more vulnerable to disease. Conservationists have been working to restore numbers by establishing…

1 min
letter of the month

Itching to know I have enjoyed the scientific education that BBC Science Focus has brought my family and I ever since the first issue. However, occasionally I have to raise an eyebrow at some of the subject matter. In ‘Don’t scratch that itch’ (October, p16), experiments were conducted on mice to discover whether it is better to scratch or rub an itch. In a time when our relationship with the natural world is rightly under immense scrutiny, surely we should question the use of animals for such research? What’s more, I’ve known the answer to this for many years - if in any doubt, the researchers could have just asked a few humans. WRITE IN AND WIN! The writer of next issue’s Letter Of The Month wins a bundle of shortlisted books from…