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EPJ B Highlight - Swarm intelligence

Simulation snapshots of a swarm. © M. Romenskyy and V.Lobaskin

A new study of animal swarms uncovers some new features of their collective behaviour when overcrowding sets in

Swarming is the spontaneous organised motion of a large number of individuals. It is observed at all scales, from bacterial colonies, slime moulds and groups of insects to shoals of fish, flocks of birds and animal herds. Now physicists Maksym Romenskyy and Vladimir Lobaskin from University College Dublin, Ireland, have uncovered new collective properties of swarm dynamics in a study just published in EPJ B. Ultimately, this could be used to control swarms of animals, robots, or human crowds by applying signals capable of emulating the underlying interaction of individuals within the swarm, which could lead to predicted motion patterns elucidated through modelling.

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EPJ E Call for Papers: Irreversible dynamics

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Numerical simulation by Paul Manneville of plane Couette flow showing the coexistence of turbulent and laminar bands.

EPJE is now accepting submissions for a topical issue on “irreversible dynamics”, dedicated to Paul Manneville. The study of classical physics underwent a revolution in the 1970s-1980s thanks to seminal contributions by Ruelle, Takens, Pomeau and Manneville. The concurrent revival and extension of the theory of dynamical systems encompasses spatiotemporal chaos and coupled oscillator arrays. Applications to fluid dynamics range from pattern formation in convection, to the onset of turbulence in shear flows. The concurrent revival and extension of the theory of dynamical systems encompasses spatiotemporal chaos and coupled oscillator arrays. Applications to fluid dynamics range from pattern formation in convection, to the onset of turbulence in shear flows. Laurette Tuckerman or Patrice Le Gal, Guest Editors of this topical issue, extend a warm invitation to all researchers, with a wide interpretation of the field. The deadline for submission is July 1st 2013. The full call for papers can be found here

EPJ Data Science Highlight - Shadows over data sharing

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Many hurdles have stood in the way of genomic data sharing since it was produced. © Jer Thorp

Experience gained from data sharing during the human genome sequencing project could apply to the broader research community

In a paper about to be published in EPJ Data Science, Barbara Jasny, deputy editor for commentary at Science magazine in Washington, DC, USA, looks at the history of the debates surrounding data access during and after the human genome “war”. In this context, she outlines current challenges in accessing information affecting research, particularly with regard to the social sciences, personalised medicine and sustainability.

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EPJ B Highlight - Unlocking fuel cell conductivity

Temperature dependence of conductivity data of bulk YSZ. © K. L. Ngai et al.

Work on a high-conductivity material demonstrates the role of oxygen ions in enhancing their capabilities

Yttria stabilized zirconia, also known as YSZ, is a material of great interest because of its relatively high oxygen-ion based conductivity. In particular, it finds applications in electrochemical devices, such as solid oxide fuel cells and oxygen sensors. In a study published in EPJ B, Kia Ngai, from the University of Pisa in Italy, and colleagues from the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, devised a model of the oxygen-ion dynamics that contribute to the conductivity of YSZ.

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EPJ D Highlight - New taxonomy of platinum nanoclusters

Energy landscape of Platinum nanoclusters. © L. Pavan et al.

The unexpected diversity of metallic nanoclusters’ inner structure has now been catalogued into families

Physicists have gained new insights into the inner intricacies of the structural variations of metallic nanoclusters. This work by Luca Pavan, Cono Di Paola and Francesca Baletto from King's College London, UK, has just been published in EPJ D. It takes us one step closer to tailoring on-demand characteristics of metallic nanoparticles. Indeed, the geometric structure of these nanoclusters influences their chemical and physical properties, which differ from those of individual molecules and of bulk metals.

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EPJ B Highlight - Spotting the invisible cracks in wind turbines

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Wind turbines can be weakened by unsuspected damages. © kovik

A new approach is available for real-time monitoring of the structural health of wind turbine components during exposure to turbulences.

Physicists have now developed a new method for analysing the elastic characteristics of mechanical structures subjected to disturbances, akin to the turbulences affecting wind turbines. These results have just been published in EPJ B by Philip Rinn and his colleagues at the ForWind Center for Wind Energy Research at the University of Oldenburg, Germany.

A significant percentage of the costs of wind energy is due to wind turbine failures, as components are weakened under turbulent air flow conditions and need to be replaced. The challenge for the team was to find a method for detecting fatigue in the wind turbines’ parts without having to remove each of the components and while the turbine is in operation.

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EPJ E Highlight - Gap geometry grasped

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Illustration of the sphere packing in two dimensions. © M. Maiti et al.

A new algorithm could help understand the structure of liquids, and how they flow through porous media

Theoretical physicist Moumita Maiti and colleagues at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, India, have now implemented an algorithm for analysing void space in sphere packing, where the spheres need not all be the same size. This method, just published in EPJ E, could be applied to analyse the geometry of liquids present between multi-sized spheres that are akin to a model for porous material. This provides a tool for studying the flow of such fluids through porous material. More importantly, it can also be used to study the packing geometry of proteins.

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EPJ Plus Highlight - Simulations’ Achille’s heel

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Example of periodic repetition of a small system. © D. Frenkel et al.

What can go wrong when computer simulations are applied outside their original context

In an article just published in EPJ Plus, Daan Frenkel from the University of Cambridge, UK, outlines the many pitfalls associated with simulation methods such as Monte Carlo algorithms or other commonly used molecular dynamics approaches.

The context of this paper is the exponential development of computing power in the past 60 years, estimated to have increased by a factor of 1015, in line with Moore’s law. Today, short simulations can reproduce a system the size of a bacterium.

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EPJ B Highlight - Novel materials: smart and magnetic

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Kinetic arrest and supercooling band as a function of magnetic field and temperature. © K. Mukherjee et al.

Varying magnetic fields and temperature conditions help to elucidate smart materials’ transitory magnetic disorder

Novel, smart materials like shape memory alloys very often display so-called glass-like magnetism. Other smart materials with similar properties include those which, when exposed to a magnetic field, change their electrical resistance, known as manganites, or change their temperature, known as magnetocaloric materials. Kaustav Mukherjee and his colleagues from the Consortium for Scientific Research Indore in India studied a key stage in the formation of such a magnetic glass material, called Pr0.5 Ca0.5 Mn0.975 Al0.025 O3, in a paper just published in EPJ B.

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EPJ D has a new Editor in Chief for quantum optics and quantum information

 Vladimir Bužek new Editor-in-Chief of EPJ D as of 1 January 2013

From January 2013 Vladimir Bužek succeeds Claude Fabre as Editor in Chief of EPJ D with responsibility for papers in quantum optics, quantum information and related topics.

Prof. Dr. Bužek graduated from the Moscow State University (both MSc and PhD) in theoretical physics. His research interests are focused on quantum optics, quantum information sciences, quantum measurement theory and foundations of quantum mechanics. He has been the head of the Research Center for Quantum Information at the Slovak Academy of Sciences and holds a professorial position at the Faculty of Informatics of the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.

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Editors-in-Chief
L. Baudis, G. Dissertori, K. Skenderis and D. Zeppenfeld
We feel that the inputs from the reviewing process have been very enriching and have significantly improved the quality of our discussion.
Best regards.

Anant

ISSN: 1434-6044 (Print Edition)
ISSN: 1434-6052 (Electronic Edition)

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