Woman with flu

Top 5 Facts: The immune system

It’s true: while you’re sitting around watching TV, trillions of foreign invaders are launching a full scale assault on the trillions of cells that constitute ‘you’. Collectively known as pathogens, these attackers include bacteria, single- celled creatures that live to eat … Continued


What is the dead man’s handle?

The ‘dead man’s handle’ was designed to act in the event of a driver falling ill while on duty. With the introduction of electricity on the railways at the end of the 19th century the fireman was no longer needed, … Continued

Solar system

Top 5 Facts: The solar system

The solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago, when part of a giant molecular cloud experienced a gravitational collapse. The centre became the Sun, which comprises more than 99 per cent of the solar system’s total mass. The rest of … Continued

Fitbit Charge

Win a Fitbit Charge with the How It Works Issue 73 quick quiz

You could win a Fitbit Charge activity tracker wristband by answering just one simple question based on the latest issue of How It Works magazine! The Fitbit Charge tracks your steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned and floors climbed. Your stats are displayed in real-time on the … Continued


Who designed the B-type bus?

Frank Searle joined the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) in 1907 as chief engineer. He knew traffic conditions in London required a vehicle of rugged design and used knowledge gained through the development of experimental motor buses to produce the … Continued

Energy Floors Sustainable Dance Floor

Energy Floors generate power from your dance moves

Rotterdam-based company Energy Floors uses an electromechanical system to turn kinetic energy into electricity. Its Sustainable Dance Floor uses the movement of dancers to light up the ground beneath their feet. The interactive light show was designed to raise awareness … Continued


At what temperature is water at its densest?

Density is a measure of how much mass a material has in a specific volume of space. Therefore the more atoms per unit volume a material has and the more mass those atoms have, the higher the density will be. … Continued


Top 5 Facts: Elephants

Elephants are the largest land animals in the world, with African males averaging five tons. They have evolved to this huge size to protect themselves from predators but almost everything that makes an elephant unique is a consequence of this bulk. … Continued


Why do sharks go into a tonic state when flipped over?

Many animals are capable of entering a trancelike state called tonic immobility whereby they appear dead to their surroundings. In the case of sharks it has been observed on many different species such as the lemon shark, reef shark and tiger … Continued

Cracking knuckles

Why do our knuckles crack?

Ever wondered what causes that loud popping noise when you crack your knuckles or stretch your joints? Watch our video to find the answer… By pulling on a knuckle, you gradually increase the space between the bones. As there is … Continued


How do the holes get in Swiss cheese?

To make cheese you need the help of bacteria. Different types of bacteria in different combinations give rise to the distinct variety of flavours in many cheeses. There are various different types of bacteria used for making Swiss cheese, the … Continued


How do stingrays eat?

Stingrays, like other members of the ray family, are bottom feeders. They are related to sharks but they don’t have sharp teeth. Depending on the species, they may either have two hard plates for crushing shellfish or just sucking mouthparts. Stingrays … Continued

Space Shuttle

Why was the Space Shuttle retired?

Sadly the Space Shuttle turned out to be just too dangerous. The disasters that destroyed the Challenger shuttle on launch in 1986, and the Columbia on re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 2003, were both caused by damage to the main orbiter … Continued


How do lenses magnify or minimise things?

A lens is a transparent piece of glass or plastic with at least one curved surface. Light moves faster in air than it does through glass or plastic. So, when a beam hits a lens, it slows down. When a … Continued


How can you tell if a mushroom is poisonous?

There are many different types of mushroom, so without getting a good grasp of individual kinds of mushroom it would be difficult to say whether they are poisonous or not. A general rule would be to never consume a mushroom … Continued


Top 5 Facts: Stonehenge

1) Tallest stone The largest stone of the monument is one of the five Trilithons in the Sarsen Circle. It measures 7.3 metres high and weighs a quite ridiculous 45 tons. 2) Conspiracy theories Theories for what the site was built … Continued


Can glass be made from lightning hitting sand?

This is indeed possible as glass and sand are both made from the same chemical, silicon dioxide. Silicon dioxide has an extremely high melting point, so first the sand has to be heated past this for it to become a … Continued

Dark matter

What exactly is dark matter?

By measuring the motion of stars in our galaxy and others, astronomers can tell that galaxies in general contain much more mass than can be accounted for by their visible stars, gas and dust. In fact, normal, or baryonic, matter (essentially … Continued

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