Striving ever on
We look to the stars more than once in this issue. First, for inspiration. On page 28 journalist Boštjan Videmšek and photographer Matjaž Krivic take a closer look at the world’s biggest nuclear fusion experiment. Situated in the south of France, the ITER project seeks to replicate the process of fusion taking place in the stars to prove that it could provide mankind with unlimited, sustainable energy. The people they meet at ITER know that what they are doing could be momentous, though of course, lo y sentiment and honourable intentions can always come a cropper in the face of budgetary restraints and admin. When it comes to fusion we don’t yet know if the science will work; we don’t yet know if the economics will work – but those at ITER won’t stop trying. Then on page 36 Christoph Otto takes a trip he’s long dreamed off, to follow in the footsteps of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagrin, who became the first man in space 60 years ago this month. He finds a legacy firmly in place as Gagarin’s modern counterparts still recreate their hero’s actions and even travel to drink from the well at his first ever house.
Elsewhere we have our feet firmly on the ground, or even under it. On page 44 Tommy Trenchard takes a trip to the UK’s stunning Jurassic Coast where Mesozoic fossils are carved from the cliffs and lie in wait underfoot, inspiring the next generation of palaeontologists determined to uncover the secrets of our past. From the stars to the soil it seems we humans are an ingenious and curious bunch. When harnessed correctly, these admirable qualities can lead to speculator results. Katie Burton Editor
‘My Russian cosmonaut friends told me about the well they drink from before they launch into space – the same well that Yuri Gagarin drank from when he was a boy. Since I heard that story, Gagarin’s legend has always fascinated me,’ says author and photographer Christoph Otto. Three trips to Russia and Kazakhstan took him to all the places that le their mark on the Russian hero (page 36).
4 . Geographical
Boštjan Videmšek, author of Plan B: How Not to Lose Hope in the Times of Climate Crisis was a war reporter for many years before turning his attention to what he calls ‘the most important frontline of humanity’ – the climate crisis. His story about nuclear fusion and the ITER programme (page 28) is the continuation of an ongoing global project to identify the most promising solutions.
‘It’s hard to overstate the challenge that emerged from Wuhan in December 2019,’ says Jacob Dykes, who wrote our cover story (page 18). ‘Now, with a remarkable vaccination effort starting to bear fruit, the public have greater knowledge of how science works; how research and knowledge is layered brick-by-brick. The consequences for the scientific enterprise are massive.’
April 2021 Volume 93 Issue 04
Publisher Graeme Gourlay
Editor Katie Burton Designer Gordon Beckett Staff writer Jacob Dykes Subeditor Geordie Torr Cartographer Ben Hennig Operations Director Simon Simmons Sales and Marketing Director Chloe Smith
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