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Tag archives: space science

The February 2018 issue of Physics World magazine is now out

Physics World February 2018By Matin Durrani

You’ll be delighted to know that the February 2018 issue of Physics World is now out in print and digital format.

In our cover feature this month, science writer Jennifer Ouellette discovers how tiny midges can shed light on collective behaviour in physics. You can also discover from Helen Gleeson how physicists are seeking to create liquid-crystal contact lenses – and learn from Stephen Ornes more about the technological challenges of going to Mars.

Don’t miss either our interview with the physicist who heads Japan’s leading funding agency and find out from astrophysicist Elizabeth Tasker about her experiences as an overseas scientist in the country.

And our veteran North America correspondent Peter Gwynne assesses the impact that Donald Trump has had on US science, one year into his presidency.

Remember that if you’re a member of the Institute of Physics, you can read the whole of Physics World magazine every month via our digital apps for iOSAndroid and Web browsers.

Let us know what you think about the issue on TwitterFacebook or by e-mailing us at


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Documentary explores the history of astronomy in China


By James Dacey

A new documentary explores the development of astronomy in China, taking viewers from the protoscience of ancient China through to the nation’s ambitious space exploration programmes of today. Directed by Beijing-based filmmaker René Seegers, the film has recently been broadcast on Shanghai Television along with screenings at a range of academic institutions, cultural and scholarly societies and embassies throughout China. Now, you can watch the film on the Physics World YouTube channel (with English subtitles).

“The Ancient Chinese believed that Heaven was a power, or a deity, which judged humans. Heaven was responsible for weather and for natural disasters. It was not a realm accessible to humans,” explains Ying Da, the documentary’s presenter. Ying is a media personality who shot to fame in China for directing the family sitcom I Love My Family (1993–1994).

Of course, in recent times Chinese scientists and engineers have taken a much more proactive approach to understanding the cosmos. Since the People’s Republic of China launched its first satellite in 1970 (Dong Fang Hong I), the nation has been ramping up its space programmes. The documentary takes viewers to observatories and the final construction phase of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the largest single-dish radio telescope on Earth. It also joins Chinese scientists in Antarctica and explores the leading role China is playing in the construction and operation of the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii.


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