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Special Topics

News / Highlights / Colloquium

EPJ ST Highlight - An exploration of tipping in complex systems

This special issue examines the extensive landscape of research into tipping within complex systems, and provides guidance as to where the field will likely be headed in the future.

Complex systems can be found in a diverse array of real-world scenarios, but are unified by their ability to suddenly transition between drastically different patterns of behaviour. Known as ‘tipping,’ this type of transformation is generally triggered by small changes in the parameters of individual systems – whose effects can rapidly cascade to alter entire networks of interacting subsystems. This special issue of EPJ Special Topics explores the nature of tipping in complex systems through 21 new articles. Together, the studies reveal recent trends and directions of research within the field, and highlight the pressing challenges it will face in the future.


EPJ ST Highlight - Examining the dynamics of complex networks

A new collection of papers focuses on the theories and methodology of dynamical networks with a focus on neuroscience and Earth sciences, and climate systems.

A special issue of EPJ Special Topics, edited by Jürgen Kurths (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research), Elbert E. N. Macau (Federal University of São Paulo), Antonio C. Roque (University of São Paulo) and Serhiy Yanchuk (Humboldt University Berlin) brings together a collection of papers focusing improving our understanding of the collective dynamics of complex systems. The special issue pays particular attention to the applications of this understanding in the diverse fields of neuroscience, climate modelling, and Earth science.


EPJ ST: Shahriar Afkhami new Editor on board

The publishers of The European Physical Journal Special Topics are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Shahriar Afkhami as new Editor in the board.

Shahriar Afkhami, is Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at New Jersey Institute of Technology and his research interests lie at the interface of applied mathematics, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering. He is particularly interested in computational and mathematical modeling of complex systems including viscoelastic liquids, electro/magnetohydrodynamics, interfacial flows in porous media, dynamic contact lines, and microfluidics. The main focus of his research is based on developing accurate and robust numerical methods for describing moving boundaries involving multiple phases and complex flows.

EPJ ST: Alfonso San Miguel new Editor on board

The publishers of The European Physical Journal Special Topics are pleased to announce the appointment of Alfonso San Miguel, professor at the University Lyon 1 and president of the Rhône section of the French Physical Society, who will support EPJ ST in Materials Science.

Alfonso San Miguel explores the physical properties of matter under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature including semiconductors, liquids or simple molecular systems. He presently focuses on the evolution of geometry, topology and dimensionality under extreme conditions, in particular in nanomaterials and low dimensional systems. He has a taste for instrumental development and interdisciplinary work combining theory and experience with specialists from different fields (physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering).

EPJ ST Highlight - Examining the accelerating Universe

A new collection of papers focuses on the paradigm of the accelerating expansion of the Universe in turn unpacking some of cosmology’s most pressing questions.

A special edition of EPJ Special Topics, edited by Balasubramanian Ananthanarayan, Centre for High Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Subhendra Mohanty, Department of Theoretical Physics, Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, brings together a collection of papers focusing improving our understanding of the accelerating expansion of the Universe and the nature of the dark energy that drives it.


EPJ ST Highlight - Using particle accelerators to investigate the quark-gluon plasma of the infant Universe

In the early stages of the Universe, quarks and gluons were quickly confined to protons and neutrons which went on to form atoms. With particle accelerators reaching increasingly higher energy levels the opportunity to study this fleeting primordial state of matter has finally arrived.

Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) is a state of matter which existed only for the briefest of times at the very beginning of the Universe with these particles being quickly clumped together to form the protons and neutrons that make up the everyday matter that surrounds us. The challenge of understanding this primordial state of matter falls to physicists operating the world’s most powerful particle accelerators. A new special issue of EPJ Special Topics entitled ‘Quark-Gluon Plasma and Heavy-Ion Phenomenology’ edited by Munshi G. Mustafa, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, India, brings together seven papers that detail our understanding of QGP and the processes that transformed it into the baryonic matter around us on an everyday basis.


EPJ ST Highlight - Gaining insight into the Universe’s most powerful objects and events

A timely new collection reminds us that even in times of great hardship, our understanding of the Universe’s most explosive, spectacular and mysterious events and objects continues to grow

Supernovas, neutron stars, and neutron star mergers are some of the Universe’s most powerful events and mysterious objects, leftover after the burning of nuclear fuel is exhausted within massive stars. A new special issue of EPJ Special Topics entitled ‘Nuclear astrophysics in our time: supernovae, neutron stars and binary neutron star mergers’ edited by Debades Bandyopadhyay, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, India, brings together several papers that document our understanding of these astrophysical events and compact stars.


EPJ ST Highlight - Hunting Dark Energy with Gravity Resonance Spectroscopy

Gravitational quantum states in ultra-cold neutrons

A highly sophisticated technique enables researchers to search for minuscule anomalies in the quantum state transitions of neutrons, which could offer key clues about the elusive nature of Dark Energy

Dark Energy is widely believed to be the driving force behind the universe’s accelerating expansion, and several theories have now been proposed to explain its elusive nature. However, these theories predict that its influence on quantum scales must be vanishingly small, and experiments so far have not been accurate enough to either verify or discredit them. In new research published in EPJ Special Topics, a team led by Hartmut Abele at TU Wien in Austria demonstrate a robust experimental technique for studying one such theory, using ultra-cold neutrons. Named ‘Gravity Resonance Spectroscopy’ (GRS), their approach could bring researchers a step closer to understanding one of the greatest mysteries in cosmology.


EPJ ST Highlight - GEFS: Searching beyond seismology for earthquake precursors

A proposed collaborative initiative involving researchers in a wide range of fields could lead to better predictions of large-scale seismic events.

To predict when earthquakes are likely to occur, seismologists often use statistics to monitor how clusters of seismic activity evolve over time. However, this approach often fails to anticipate the time and magnitude of large-scale earthquakes, leading to dangerous oversights in current early-warning systems. For decades, studies outside the seismology field have proposed that these major, potentially devastating seismic events are connected to a range of non-seismic phenomena – which can be observed days or even weeks before these large earthquakes occur. So far, however, this idea hasn’t caught on in the wider scientific community. In this special issue, EPJ Special Topics proposes the Global Earthquake Forecasting System (GEFS): the first collaborative initiative between multi-disciplinary researchers devoted to studying a diverse array of non-seismic earthquake precursors.


EPJ ST Highlight – Introduction to Celestial Mechanics in the XXIst Century

Space exploration is moving into a new era, the turn of the century has seen past glories fade and the focus of science and research move from one-off achievements and firsts, to the establishment of frameworks that will encourage sustainability. At the same time, the more we learn about space, the more we realise that plans must be put in place to mitigate threats from beyond our own atmosphere. As such, the EPJ Special Topics issue on ‘Celestial Mechanics in the XXIst Century’ reflects this shift in attention by spotlighting research that aims to cement humankind’s place amongst the stars.

Here, we present highlights from this issue where we learn how spacecrafts can get a boost in ‘Aerogravity Assisted’ interactions, how we might reduce the risk of space debris collision, and how a tethered diversion might protect Earth from asteroid impact.

Managing Editors
Anne Ruimy and Vijala Kiruvanayagam (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