2016 Impact factor 1.862
Special Topics

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.


EPJ Plus Highlight - Best tactical approach to handling patients with simultaneous parasitic and HIV infection

Copyright © 2012 Michael Bonert.
You are free to share and adapt this image as per the CC BY-SA 3.0.

New mathematical model for cryptosporidiosis - HIV co-infection explores their synergistic relationship in connection with prevention and treatment

One of the most common waterborne diseases worldwide is cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic disease affecting the small intestine and possibly our airways. It is a common cause of diarrhoea in HIV-positive patients, who are known to have lower immunity. Now Kazeem Oare Okosun from Vaal University of Technology in South Africa and colleagues from Pakistan and Nigeria have developed a new model and numerical simulations to determine the optimal combination of prevention and treatment strategies for controlling both diseases in patients who have been co-infected. Their results, recently published in EPJ Plus, show a positive impact on the treatment and prevention for cryptosporidiosis alone, for HIV-AIDS alone, or for both together.


EPJ Plus Focus Point - Nuclear data for energy

During the past decades, new nuclear systems have been designed with the goals of ensuring the sustainability of nuclear energy, minimizing long-lived radioactive waste and improving the safety of nuclear reactors. This has led to the request for new or more precise nuclear data, either because reactions on isotopes neglected before have become important, or because new types of reactions have to be described. Nuclear data are in fact all the quantities necessary to describe the nuclear reactions occurring in a system.

In Europe, an important effort has been devoted to the collection of high quality nuclear data, and partially supported by the EURATOM framework programs: in particular ANDES (Accurate Nuclear Data for nuclear Energy Sustainability) and CHANDA (solving CHAllenges in Nuclear Data) in FP7. This EPJ Plus Focus Point issue presents part of the work performed during these programs.

All articles are freely accessible until 30 September 2017. For further information read the Editorial

EPJ Plus Highlight - Astronauts to bring asteroid back into lunar orbit

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

Italian Space Agency presents plans to develop a robotic solar-powered spacecraft capable of displacing a near-Earth asteroid towards lunar orbit for ease of study

Future space exploration aims to fly further from Earth than ever before. Now, Italian Space Agency scientists have expressed an interest in contributing to the development of robotic technologies to bring an asteroid from beyond lunar orbit back into closer reach in order to better study it. In a paper published in EPJ Plus, Marco Tantardini and Enrico Flamini from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) make the case for taking part in the robotic phase of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). In addition to taking manned spaceflights deeper into space than ever before, the proposed mission would also bring some benefit for planetary science.


EPJ Plus Highlight - Imaging helps to spot fake ancient daggers

Three dimensional reconstruction of the sample analysed using white beam neutron tomography.

Combining neutron and X-ray imaging gives clues to how ancient weapons were manufactured

Since the 19th century, collectors have become increasingly interested in weapons from ancient Asia and the Middle East. In an attempt to fight forged copies, physicists are now adding their imaging power to better authenticate these weapons; the fakes can't resist the investigative power of X-rays combined with neutron imaging. In a study published in EPJ Plus, an Italian team, working in close collaboration with the Wallace Collection in London and the Neutron Imaging team at the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, has demonstrated the usefulness of such a combined imaging approach to help museum curators in their quest to ensure authenticity. Filament Salvemini, currently affiliated with the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering ACNS at ANSTO in Lucas Heights near Sydney, and colleagues can now reliably tell first-class modern copies of early daggers and swords from authentic ones.


EPJ Plus Focus Point - Status of third-generation synchrotron crystallography beamlines: An overview

Initially motivated by the celebration of the international year of Crystallography in 2014, This EPJ Plus focus point issue presents a coherent collection of papers summarizing the status of third generation synchrotron beamlines devoted to crystallography in most European facilities and in an invited extraeuropean one: 9 papers for 9 facilities. Standard organization of information, emphasis on technical details and design choices, many pictures and schematics, are some of the attractive ingredients offered herein. The reader may find references to more than 50 beamlines available or planned in the close future for crystallography experiments, detailed technical descriptions of 17 beamlines, additional information about complementary aspects such as user access, laboratory support or computational tools and scientific highlights. Last but not least, looking through the papers one may get key hints on the future directions as planned by the different facilities. Altogether, a tool to have a global view of crystallography beamlines in a very significant subset of the worldwide synchrotron network.

The articles are freely accessible until 15 July. For further information read the Editorial

EPJ Plus Highlight - Proving Einstein right using the most sensitive Earth rotation sensors ever made

Physicists have now found a way to measure Earth's rotation in an extremely accurate way. (Photo Fotolia, ID #60274978 by Denis Tabler)

A new study use the most precise inertial sensor available to date to measure whether Earth partially drags inertial frames along with its rotation

Einstein’s theory of gravity, also referred to as General Relativity, predicts that a rotating body such as the Earth partially drags inertial frames along with its rotation. In a study recently published in EPJ Plus, a group of scientists based in Italy suggests a novel approach to measuring what is referred to as frame dragging. Angela Di Virgilio of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, INFN, in Pisa, Italy, and her colleagues propose using the most sensitive type of inertial sensors, which incorporate ring lasers as gyroscopes, to measure the absolute rotation rate of the Earth.


EPJ Plus Highlight - Does the universe have a rest frame?

A simplified diagram showing the basic idea of the experimental design.

Experiment aims at resolving divergence between special relativity and standard model of cosmology

Physics is sometimes closer to philosophy when it comes to understanding the universe. Donald Chang from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China, attempts to elucidate whether the universe has a resting frame. The results have recently been published in EPJ Plus.


EPJ Plus Focus Point - Plants for food, energy and sustainability

Guest Editors: G. Alimonti, S. Johansson and L. Mariani

After a very long hunting-gathering period, the first agricultural civilizations were born at the end of the last ice age. Agricultural practices generated a surplus of food, which was a prerequisite for the birth of modern societies. During the twentieth century, the modern agriculture was developed and now yields more food than ever before: less than 20% of our global population works to provide the whole mankind with food.

As environmental problems and resource constraints are arising, we now turn to agriculture in the hope for solutions regarding future sustainability. Could agriculture provide us with both food and fuel? Could we contribute to climate change mitigation by letting plants exploit the carbon dioxide that has been accumulated in the atmosphere? There are many promises, and we know that plants are our ultimate companions in life. However, more systemic methods are required to cope with multi-functionality and living systems so that we do not end up causing new problems as we try to cope with those already there.

This EPJ Plus Focus Point addresses the present and historical development of agriculture, perspectives of plant exploitation for food and energy production in a logic of social, economic and environmental sustainability. The articles are freely accessible until 20 April. For further information read the Editorial

EPJ Plus Focus Point - Rewriting Nuclear Physics textbooks: 30 years with radioactive ion beam physics

Guest editors: N. Alamanos, C. Bertulani, A. Bracco,
A. Bonaccorso, D. Brink and G. Casini

This collection of articles contains the lectures given at the Summer School "Re-writing Nuclear Physics textbooks: 30 years of radioactive ion beam physics`` which was held at the INFN Sezione di Pisa and Department of Physics of the University of Pisa during the week 20-24 July 2015.

The school celebrated thirty years since the publication of the first papers (I. Tanihata et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 55, (1985) 2676 and P.G. Hansen, B. Jonson, Europhys. Lett. 4, (1987) 409) in which radioactive ion beams (RIBs) were used to study properties of atomic nuclei. The school consisted of twelve lectures published here and freely accessible until 24 April 2017. Each lecture covers a topic contained in a standard Nuclear Physics textbook extended to show how our understanding has deeply changed due to the experience accumulated with RIB physic. The collection is directed mainly to third and fourth year undergraduate students but it could be seen also as an update for teachers of basic Nuclear Physics courses.

For further information read the Editorial here.

Managing Editors
Agnès Henri (EDP Sciences) and Sabine Lehr (Springer-Verlag)
Thank you very much, Isabelle! Very timely. And the cover looks fantastic! We are grateful for the great collaboration! Best wishes.

Dirk Helbing, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Editor EPJ Special Topics 214, 2012

ISSN: 1951-6355 (Print Edition)
ISSN: 1951-6401 (Electronic Edition)

© EDP Sciences and Springer-Verlag

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