BBC Science Focus


- Daniel Bennett, Editor

From Interstell­ar to Lost In Space to Event Horizon, black holes have inspired a wealth of science fiction. But now there’s a new idea in cosmology that’s so out there it seems as though it could have been plucked from an episode of Star Trek itself.

In the hunt for alien life, some scientists think we might be taking an approach that’s too convention­al. Usually, we look for solar systems like our own: a set of planets basking in the warmth of star. But we might have overlooked a potential location that’s a bit more… heavy metal.

What if black holes, which are known for being forces of destructio­n, could harbour life in their midst? What if the matter and energy swirling towards the event horizon could actually provide enough warmth to cultivate biology? Scientists are modelling precisely this, and the results are pretty surprising. Head to p54 to find out more.

If you enjoy reading about black holes and are hankering after some more mind-bending physics, you need to subscribe to our podcast. Head to sciencefoc­ to find our six-part mini-series on physics with Prof Jim Al-Khalili, and tonnes of other great interviews about space travel, nanotechno­logy, medical science and much more.

Enjoy the issue!

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