News / Highlights / Colloquium
- Published on 23 April 2020
With the right approach, statistics can be used to reliably track the growth and fall in daily new cases of Covid-19 in China, raising hopes that similar approaches could more accurately predict the spread of the virus in other nations.
Efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic are now the top priority of governments across the globe. As they make these life-saving decisions, it is particularly crucial for policymakers to accurately predict how the spread of the virus will change over time. Through research published in EPJ Plus, Ignazio Ciufolini at the University of Salento, and Antonio Paolozzi at Sapienza University of Rome, identify a clear mathematical trend in the evolution of daily new cases and death numbers in China, and use the same curve to predict how a similar slowdown will unfold in Italy.
- Published on 01 April 2020
By treating meat as a network of flexible polymers surrounded by flowing moisture, computer models can accurately predict how much it will shrink when cooked.
Meat is no ordinary solid. Made up of complex networks of moisture-saturated proteins, it displays some intriguing physical properties when it is cooked. Several studies in the past have attempted to recreate this behaviour in computer simulations, but because this demands so much computing power, they have only achieved simplified, one-dimensional recreations of the process, which aren’t particularly accurate. In new research published in EPJ Plus, mathematicians led by Dr Hala Nelson at James Madison University show that by modelling meat as a fluid-saturated matrix of elastic proteins, which are deformed as the fluid moves, cooking behaviours can be simulated more precisely.
- Published on 17 January 2020
This special issue is related to the 3rd edition of the International Conference on Innovation in Art Research and Technology (inArt 2018) held in Parma (Italy). The Focus Point includes 20 excellent examples of the research works presented at the Conference. In particular, attention is focused on: non-invasive investigation techniques; new materials for restoration in compliance with the artifacts and the environment; products for the prevention of corrosion and of degradation; self-cleaning materials. The articles are devoted to the study of many different art objects and materials, including paintings (pigments, dyes, binders), textiles, manuscripts, buildings as well as building materials, metals, glasses, gems, bones and ivory. The analyzed objects span a huge time interval, ranging from antiquity (ancient Egypt) to contemporary art. Many different techniques are involved: spectroscopy in the different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum (from infrared to X-rays); visible and electron microscopy; multispectral imaging; three-dimensional reconstruction, using instruments as handheld spectrometers, neutron sources or particle accelerators. Data treatment is also discussed, from databases to data integration and decision tools.
EPJ Plus Focus Point: Past and Present: Recent Advances in the Investigation of Ancient Materials by Means of Scientific Instrumental Techniques
- Published on 12 December 2019
This Focus Point introduces selected papers from the contributions presented at the 10th Congress of Italian Association of Archaeometry (AIAr) held in Turin (Italy) in February 2018, where a large parterre of Italian as well as International researchers shared their experiences on new and more consolidated analytical approaches on archaeological and artistic materials.
Different topics were addressed in the realm of cultural heritage, from characterisation and diagnostics to bioarchaeology and man-environment interaction. A strong focus was put on the comparison between non-invasive/non-destructive and micro-invasive methods in the study of different categories of objects, evaluating the pros and cons of each approach. Also a growing interest, accompanied by increasing technological skills, was registered for monitoring of environmental conditions to which the archaeological and artistic patrimony is subjected.
EPJ Plus Focus Point: Fractional Differential Equations in Physics: Recent Advantages and Future Direction
- Published on 20 November 2019
The Focus Point on “Fractional Differential Equations in Physics: Recent Advantages and Future Direction” presents some of the multiple open research directions within the dynamical field of fractional calculus and its applications. Traditional viewpoints together with fractional calculus models and techniques are used to provide the readers with a full picture of how dynamic and useful fractional calculus ideas are in treating the dynamics of complex phenomena arising from science and engineering. We hope that the research articles of this Focus Point will motivate young researchers to apply their original ideas for solving the multiple open problems within fractional calculus.
- Published on 24 October 2019
A variety of scientific techniques have been combined to highlight improvements in the technologies employed by the Romans in successive modifications to the Atrium Vestae in Rome.
The Romans were some of the most sophisticated builders of the ancient world. Over the centuries, they adopted an increasingly advanced set of materials and technologies to create their famous structures. To distinguish the time periods over which these improvements took place, historians and archaeologists typically measure the colours, shapes and consistencies of the bricks and mortar used by the Romans, along with historical sources. In new research published in EPJ Plus, Francesca Rosi and colleagues at the Italian National Research Council improved on these techniques through scientific analysis of the materials used to build the Roman Forum’s Atrium Vestae. They found that successive phases of modification to the building saw improvements including higher quality raw materials, higher brick firing temperatures, and better ratios between carbonate and silicate building materials.
- Published on 06 September 2019
The latest analytical techniques available to scientists can confirm the validity of historical sources in some cases, and suggest a need for reconsideration in others
As any historian will tell you, we can rarely take the claims made by our ancestors at face value. The authenticity of many of the artefacts which shape our understanding of the past have been hotly debated for centuries, with little consensus amongst researchers. Now, many of these disputes are being resolved through scientific research, including two studies recently published in EPJ Plus. The first of these, led by Diego Armando Badillo-Sanchez at the University of Évora in Portugal, analysed an artefact named ‘Francisco Pizarro’s Banner of Arms’ – believed to have been carried by the Spanish conquistador during his conquest of the Inca Empire in the 16th century. The second team, headed by Armida Sodo at Roma Tre University in Italy, investigated a colour print of Charlemagne – the medieval ruler who united much of Western Europe – assumed to be from the 16th century.
- Published on 05 July 2019
A new Monte Carlo based simulation method enables more precise simulation for ensembles of elementary particles
Over the last few decades, the exponential increase in computer power and accompanying increase in the quality of algorithms has enabled theoretical and particle physicists to perform more complex and precise simulations of fundamental particles and their interactions. If you increase the number of lattice points in a simulation, it becomes harder to tell the difference between the observed result of the simulation and the surrounding noise. A new study by Marco Ce, a physicist based at the Helmholtz-Institut Mainz in Germany and recently published in EPJ Plus, describes a technique for simulating particle ensembles that are 'large' (at least by the standards of particle physics). This improves the signal-to-noise ratio and thus the precision of the simulation; crucially, it also can be used to model ensembles of baryons: a category of elementary particles that includes the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.
- Published on 04 July 2019
Testing of fundamental physical theories at ever higher accuracy is a continuous process and hence General Relativity and the development of alternative gravity theories have always been among the interests of experimentalists, astronomers and theoreticians. The empirical basis of General Relativity is linked to an immense scope of areas, from the equivalence principle up to the variation of the gravitational constant and of other physical constants.
A new phase of studies on extensions of General Relativity and alternative gravity theories started with the discovery of the dark sector - the dark energy and dark matter - as of dominating content of the Universe.
The papers included in this Focus Point although cover a minor fraction of the above mentioned areas, nevertheless they contain timely accounts on broad topics, from tests on equivalence principle, to orbital dynamics of extended bodies in inspiraling binary systems, up to cosmology.
EPJ Plus Focus Point: Rewriting Nuclear Physics textbooks: Basic nuclear interactions and their link to nuclear processes in the Cosmos and on Earth
- Published on 20 May 2019
This topical collection contains the lectures presented at the Summer School ``Re-writing Nuclear Physics textbooks: Basic Nuclear Interactions and Their Link to Nuclear Processes in the Cosmos and on Earth" which was held at the INFN Sezione di Pisa and Department of Physics of the University of Pisa in July 2017. The School followed the format of its first edition (``Re-writing Nuclear Physics textbooks: 30 years with Radioactive Ion Beam Physics") held at the very same places two years earlier, and whose lectures have been published in EPJ Plus.
The scope of this new collection is to highlight the wonders of the Nuclear Interaction as it manifests itself in natural phenomena on Earth and in the Astrophysical context. Again, all of the contributions contain state-of-the-art information presented for an audience of educated but not necessarily expert physicists.