EPJ B Highlight - Better mastery of heat flow leads to next-generation thermal cloaks

Janus thermal illusion.

Chinese physicists manipulate the transfer of thermal energy as a means of reducing heat waste, using thermal camouflage tactics

Ever heard of the invisibility cloak? It manipulates how light travels along the cloak to conceal an object placed behind it. Similarly, the thermal cloak is designed to hide heated objects from infrared detectors without distorting the temperature outside the cloak. Materials for such cloaks would need to offer zero thermal conductivity to help camouflage the heat. Now, Liujun Xu and colleagues from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, have explored a new mechanism for designing such materials. These findings published in EPJ B could have implications for manipulating the transfer of thermal energy as a way to ultimately reduce heat waste from fossil fuels and help mitigate energy crises.


EPJ B Highlight - ID microstructure of stock useful in financial crisis

Pairwise disparity of the order flow of 96 stocks, grouped into four clusters.

New study of the trading interactions that determine the stock price using AI algorithms reveals unexpected microstructure for stock evolution, useful for financial crash modeling

Every day, thousands of orders for selling or buying stocks are registered and processed within milliseconds. Electronic stock exchanges, such as NASDAQ, use what is referred to as microscopic modelling of the order flow - reflecting the dynamics of order bookings - to facilitate trading. The study of such market microstructures is a relatively new research field focusing on the trading interactions that determine the stock price. Now, a German team from the University of Duisburg-Essen has analysed the statistical regularities and irregularities in the recent order flow of 96 different NASDAQ stocks. Since prices are strongly correlated during financial crises, they evolve in a way that is similar to what happens to nerve signals during epileptic seizures. The findings of the Duisburg-Essen group, published in EPJ B, contribute to modelling price evolution, and could ultimately be used to evaluate the impact of financial crises.


EPJ D Highlight - Droplet explosion by shock waves, relevant to nuclear medicine

Simulation of a disintegrating droplet.

Ion beam cancer therapy could be improved if ion-induced shock waves are discovered. A new study explores how these predicted waves can be observed

An arrow shooting through an apple, makes for a spectacular explosive sight in slow motion. Similarly, energetic ions passing through liquid droplets induce shock waves, which can fragment the droplets. In a study published in EPJ D, Eugene Surdutovich from Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA with his colleagues from the MBN Research Centre, Frankfurt, Germany have proposed a solution to observe the predicted ion-induced shock waves. They believe these can be identified by observing the way incoming ions fragment liquid droplets into multiple smaller droplets. The discovery of such shock waves would change our understanding of the nature of radiation damage with ions to cancerous tumour. This matters for the optimisation of ion-beam cancer therapy, which requires a thorough understanding of the relation between the physical characteristics of the incoming ion beam and its effects on biological tissues.


EPJ B Highlight - Greater government responsiveness is paramount to maintaining stable societies

Representation of how the tipping point accelerates systems’ decision-making time lag.

Complex systems models reveal that socio-political instabilities are so predictable that the need to reduce the time lag in political decision-making is blatantly obvious

The Brexit is the perfect example of a time-delayed event. It will happen, if at all, only several years after the referendum vote. Dynamical systems with time delays, like societies making political decisions, have attracted considerable attention from physicists specialised in complex systems. In this new study published in EPJ B, Claudius Gros from Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany has shown that over time, the stability of our democracies can only be preserved by finding ways to reduce the time span governments and other political actors typically need to respond to the wishes of citizens, particularly when confronted with external shocks. That’s because citizens’ opinions are now forming much more quickly than ever before, relative to the time lags that policy decision making involves. This means that drastic changes in modes of governance may be required in order to keep democratic societies stable.


EPJ D Colloquium - Two-dimensional laser-induced fluorescence in the gas phase: a spectroscopic tool for studying molecular spectroscopy and dynamics

Two-dimensional laser-induced fluorescence (2D-LIF) extends the usual laser-induced fluorescence technique by incorporating a second dimension, namely the wavelengths at which the excited molecules emit, thereby significantly enhancing the information that can be extracted. It allows overlapping absorption features, whether they arise from within the same molecule or from different molecules in a mixture, to be associated with their appropriate "parent" state and/or molecule.


EPJ A Highlight - From experiment to evaluation, the case of n+238U


Evaluated nuclear data represent the bridge between experimental and theoretical achievements and final user applications. The complex evolution from experimental data towards final data libraries forms the cornerstone of any evaluation process. Since more than 90% of the fuel in most nuclear power reactors consists of 238U, the respective neutron induced cross sections are of primary importance towards accurate neutron transport calculations. Despite this significance, the relevant experimental data for the 238U(n,γ) capture reaction have only recently provided for a consistent description of the resonance region. In this work, the 238U(n,γ) average cross sections were evaluated in the energy region 5-150 keV, based on recommendations by the IAEA Neutron Standards projects and experimental data not included in previous evaluations.


EPJ Plus Highlight - Ice shapes the landslide landscape on Mars

Landslides on Mars

SA new study uses a combination of glacial morphology and remote sensing measurement to explore the role of ice in shaping Martian landslides

How good is your Martian geography? Does Valles Marineris ring a bell? This area is known for having landslides that are among the largest and longest in the entire solar system. They make the perfect object of study due to their steep collapse close to the scarp, extreme thinning, and long front runout. In a new research paper published in EPJ Plus, Fabio De Blasio and colleagues from Milano-Bicocca University, Italy, explain the extent to which ice may have been an important medium of lubrication for landslides on Mars. This can in turn help us understand the geomorphological history of the planet and the environment of deposition.


EPJ Data Science Highlight - Gaining historical and international relations insights from social media

As more and more people get their news from social media platforms, these become hosts to vast amounts of information on human behavior in relation to real-time events around the world. In a study published in EPJ Data Science, Vanessa Peña-Araya and team successfully match geopolitical interactions obtained from Twitter activity with real-world historical international relations.

(Guest post by Vanessa Peña-Araya, Mauricio Quezada, Denis Parra and Barbara Poblete, originally published on the SpringerOpen blog

Online social media platforms, like Twitter, Sina Weibo, or Facebook, have become very popular in recent years. They are primarily used to share personal experiences and to keep in touch with friends. Nevertheless, many users turn to these platforms as reliable sources to find real-time information about world events, such as the Ukrainian Crisis or recent natural disasters. In particular, Twitter has become one of the prefered sources on the Web for breaking news updates


EPJ Data Science Highlight - Out in the city with Pokémon Go

In the summer of 2016 Pokémon Go took the world by storm. Millions of people across the globe descended on their streets, searching their neighbourhoods for monsters. Much has been reported on the health benefits that players gained from using the app; now, research published in EPJ Data Science explores how Pokémon Go was able to change the pulse of a city, encouraging people to use areas in ways they didn't previously.

(Guest post by Eduardo Graells-Garrido, originally published on SpringerOpen blog

The success of Pokémon Go is undeniable. People of all ages and everywhere in the world were using their mobile phones to go around their cities trying to catch the next pocket monster. But “PoGo” had an interesting, perhaps unintended, side-effect: not only did the game let you catch Pokémon in an augmented reality (AR) environment, it also motivated players to walk more and meet new people.


EPJ Plus Highlight - Remote sensing for cosmic dust and other celestial bodies

How to bring an asteroid back nearer to lunar orbit. Credits: Keck Institute for Space Studies report

Study reviews the state-of-the-art in polarimetry as a remote sensing technique for the small bodies in our solar system

The solar system is full of various small bodies such as planetary moons, main belt asteroids, Jupiter Trojans, Centaurs, trans-Neptunian objects and comets. To study them, scientists typically analyse the radiation they reflect, which is referred to as polarimetry. Scientists not only focus on the intensity of the scattered radiation, but also on how photons oscillate in the plane perpendicular to their direction of propagation - that is, their polarisation. Combining these two aspects yields significantly better descriptions than data obtained from the intensity alone. In a paper published in EPJ Plus, Stefano Bagnulo from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium in Northern Ireland, UK, and colleagues review the state-of-the-art in polarimetry for studying the small bodies in our solar system.


G. Milburn
ISSN: 2196-0763 (Electronic Edition)

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