FROM THE EDITORS
THE WORLD IN WHICH you’re reading this is not the world we lived in when we embarked on Cosmos’s 87th issue. We are locked down, socially restricted, alert and a little alarmed at the potential that SARSCOV-2 has brought to our doorstep.
It’s also a world that scientists are making better, one problem, one fact and one solution at a time. Our big global problem is being solved in the way science does: in myriad teeny tiny little facets, as Fiona Mcmillan shows in her story about virus detectives. She talks to the frontline fixers taking part in an unprecedented global collaboration combining genetics, virology, pharmacology and immunology. Also in this issue Dyani Lewis explores the basis and process of the epidemic modelling that we all knew so little about and this year has come to rule our lives, and the surprising research from which it comes.
These unexpected connections are another hallmark of the scientists we love: a kind of wide curiosity that collects information from everything in sight. This issue is chock full of these strange science bedfellows, from Battleship to swiping in Lee Constable’s research into screen technology; bugs to rumbling bellies in Eurekas; and Andrew Bain’s intriguing story about belfries, bats and bountiful life.
Given you may still have a little time on your hands, how about a nice DIY project? Read Rami Mandow’s story and you’ll come away with the basics of small-scale radio telescope making. If you’re still looking for distraction and building a telescope doesn’t entice, we hope you’ll be inspired by astrophysicist Mark Flynn, who’s stitching a quilt square to be included in the RAS UK’S bicentennial celebration; by Roman Hill’s amazing visual experiments with low-tech ingredients; or – as always – to jump into a project of citizen science discovery. This issue we look at an app launch that’s a good reason to get out and about and is as simple as a walk in the park (Don’t panic! The study subjects won’t fly away this time…)
Paradoxically, while tangibly distant from one another we’re virtually closer as a result: just the touch of a few buttons away. We’d love to hear from you about your DIY science achievements, your favourite beguiling orchid or your guess at this issue’s obscure object, socially (using #Cosmos87), by email, or even by the world’s most durable technology: folded paper.
We trust science to solve our present woes, and wonder: if only we heeded it more often, what else could we achieve?
GAIL MACCALLUM, Managing Editor IAN CONNELLAN, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org