2016 Impact factor 2.787

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EPJ E Colloquium: Non-local fluctuation phenomena in liquids

Fluids in non-equilibrium steady states exhibit long-range fluctuations which extend over the entire system. They can be described by non-equilibrium thermodynamics and fluctuating hydrodynamics that assume local equilibrium for the thermophysical properties as a function of space and time.

The experimental evidence for the consistency between this assumption of local equilibrium in the equations and the non-local fluctuation phenomena observed is reviewed in this EPJ E colloquium paper

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EPJ Data Science Highlight - Predicting future sports rankings from evolving performance

 Rank diversity of chess.
Rank diversity of chess.

Competitive sport ranking evolution over time is used to predict the future evolution of rankings

Competitive sports and games are all about the performance of players and teams, which results in performance-based hierarchies. Because such performance is measurable and is the result of varied rules, sports and games are considered a suitable model to help understand unrelated social or economic systems characterised by similar rules-based complexity. Now, a team of Mexican scientists have used the performance of national teams in tennis, chess, golf, poker and football as a test-bed for identifying universal features in the creation of hierarchies—such as the stratified structure found in the global hierarchical distribution of wealth. José Morales from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and his colleagues found they could, in principle, predict changes in rank occupancy over the course of a contender's lifetime, regardless of the particularities of the sports or activity. These findings, published in EPJ Data Science, enhance our ability to forecast how stratification occurs in competitive activities.

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EPJ B Highlight - Tortoise electrons trying to catch up with hare photons give graphene its conductivity

Illustrative picture of the system studied.

Collective electron interaction, mediated by photons across space-time under a weak magnetic field, explains the special conductivity of the one-atom-thick material

How electrons interact with other electrons at quantum scale in graphene affects how quickly they travel in the material, leading to its high conductivity. Now, Natália Menezes and Cristiane Morais Smith from the Centre for Extreme Matter and Emergent Phenomena at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and a Brazilian colleague, Van Sergio Alves, have developed a model attributing the greater conductivity in graphene to the accelerating effect of electrons interacting with photons under a weak magnetic field. Their findings have been published in EPJ B.

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EPJ Plus Highlight - New neuron dynamics model better fitted to the biological reality

The phase trajectories of the solutions for the simplified biologically relevant HH model and the scaled theoretical FHN model for neuron dynamics (black curve).

Scientists have now adopted a qualitative theoretical neuroscience model commensurate with actual measurements of neurons' dynamics

Neuroscientists are currently working diligently to understand the dynamics of thousands of coupled neurons. Understanding how they operate requires accurate models. The trouble is that each of the existing neuroscience models has its own shortcomings. Russian physicists have, for the first time, developed an effective method for solving the equations of a well-known theoretical neuroscience dynamic model and make it more biologically relevant. These findings have just been published in EPJ Plus by Eugene Postnikov and Olga Titkova from Kursk State University, Russia. They could not only help resolve problems in the neurosciences, but could also provide a deeper understanding of neuronal activity in the emerging sector of neurovascular dynamics, which describes the interplay between the brain's neurons and the blood flow.

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EPJ D Colloquium: Non-equilibrium in low-temperature plasmas

The wide range of applications that have been found for cold plasmas stems from the fact that they are physical systems out of thermodynamic equilibrium. This property enhances their reactivity at low gas temperature, and allows macroscopic effects to be obtained with only moderate energy consumption.

In this EPJ D review, the basic concepts of ionised gases in a non-equilibrium state are treated by showing how and why the non-equilibrium functions of the degrees of freedom are formed in a variety of natural and man-made plasmas, with particular emphasis on the progress that has been made in the last decade. A modern perspective of the molecular basis of non-equilibrium and of a state-to-state kinetic approach is adopted. Computational and diagnostic techniques that have been used to investigate the non-equilibrium conditions are also surveyed.

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EPJ D Highlight - Better than milk on breakfast cereals: new precision coating method for industrial granular material

Ignited plasma – starfish shaped racetracks.

Deposition of a thin film catalyst of a predicted thickness on the surface of novel hydrogen storage microbeads helps release hydrogen

As anyone who eats their cereal with milk in the morning knows: coating large volumes of granular material homogeneously is no mean feat. In a recent paper published in EPJ D, an Austrian team has developed a new method, based on physical vapour deposition, to upscale the quantity of coating without affecting the quality and homogeneity of the film. In this study, Andreas Eder from Vienna University of Technology and colleagues also developed a model capable of predicting the film thickness. This represents a major step forward for industrial materials, as previous approaches relied on optical measurement after the coating had been deposited. Because this coating system is capable of implementing a plasma close to the granular substrate, it opens the door to new surface treatment and modification possibilities.

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EPJ Data Science Highlight - Fiction-book narratives: only six emotional storylines

Annotated emotional arc of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling.
Annotated emotional arc of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling.

How scientists are using big data analysis to deconstruct the art of storytelling

Our most beloved works of fiction hide well-trodden narratives. And most fictions is based on far fewer storylines than you might have imagined. To come to this conclusion, big data scientists have worked with colleagues from natural language processing to analyse the narrative in more than a thousand works of fiction. By deconstructing some of the magic of narrative in fiction books, they have also confirmed that there are six different, common ways of telling a story that can be found time and time again in popular stories. They were inspired by the work of US fiction author Kurt Vonnegut, who originally proposed the similarity of emotional story lines in a Masters’s thesis rejected by the University of Chicago. These findings have just been published in EPJ Data Science by Andrew Reagan from the University of Vermont, USA, and colleagues.

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EPJ A Highlight - Open refereed paper reveals how to study unstable radioactive nuclei’s dual traits

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HIE-ISOLDE production yields.

HIE-ISOLDE acceleration of radioactive beams to peer into the dual state of matter unique to nuclei

Radioactive nuclides, found within an atom's core, all share a common feature: they have too many or too few neutrons to be stable. In a new review published in EPJ A, Maria Jose Borges and Karsten Riisager explain how overcoming technical difficulties in accelerating such radioactive nuclei beams can help push back the boundaries of nuclear physics research. This fascinating topic is the first EPJ A paper to be subjected to an open referee process, whereby the referee's comments are included.

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EPJ D Colloquium: Evaluating experimental molecular physics studies of radiation damage in DNA

Molecular physics has made significant new contributions to our understanding of radiation damage at the molecular level, and led to improved cancer therapy through both experimental and theoretical advances, in particular the development of new damage measurement and analysis techniques.

In this EPJ D Colloquium paper, Małgorzata A. Śmiałek summarizes and highlights the most prominent findings in atomic and molecular physics, that have contributed towards a better understanding of the fundamental processes in biological systems and relevant to the next generation of radiation therapies. She also comments on the practical experimental challenges that have been met while investigating the more complex targets.

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EPJ B Highlight - When crystal vibrations‘ inner clock drives superconductivity

Superconductor. © ktsdesign/Fotolia

Tweaking equations to drive greater superconductivity-inducing crystal vibrations proves theoretical possibility of creating higher temperature superconductors

Superconductivity is like an Eldorado for electrons, as they flow without resistance through a conductor. However, it only occurs below a very low critical temperature. Physicists now believe they can enhance superconductivity - the idea is to externally drive its underlying physical phenomena by changing how ions vibrating in the crystal lattice of the conductor material, called phonons, interact with electron flowing in the material. Andreas Komnik from the University of Heidelberg and Michael Thorwart from the University of Hamburg, Germany, adapted the simplest theory of superconductivity to reflect the consequences of externally driving the occurrence of phonons. Their main result, published in EPJ B, is a simple formula explaining how it is theoretically possible to raise the critical temperature using phonon driving.

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Editors-in-Chief
Frank Schweitzer and Alessandro Vespignani

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