- Published on 08 May 2019
A new study suggests the pattern of fibres in tissues is similar to the petals of a flower
Collagen fibrils are a major component of the connective tissues found throughout the animal kingdom. The cable-like assemblies of long biological molecules combine to form tissues as varied as skin, corneas, tendons or bones. The development of these complex tissues is the subject of a variety of research efforts, focusing on the steps involved and the respective contributions of genetics and physical chemistry to their development. Now, two researchers at the Universite Paris-sud in Orsay, France, have shed new light on how complex collagen fibrils form. In a new study published in EPJ E, the authors focus on one of the hierarchical steps, in which molecules spontaneously associate in long and dense axisymmetric fibres, known as type I collagen fibrils.
- Published on 06 May 2019
The Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics is given annually to recognize outstanding scholarly achievements in the history of physics.
Helge Kragh, who is an Editor of EPJ H and author of the recently published SpringerBriefs “From Transuranic to Superheavy Elements - A Story of Dispute and Creation”, received the 2019 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics for "influential contributions to the history of physics, especially analyses of cosmological theories and debates, the history of the quantum physics of elementary particles and the solid state, and biographical studies of Paul Dirac and Niels Bohr, and his early quantum atom".
- Published on 26 April 2019
A new model of red blood flowing through narrow capillaries shows that the cells change shape and alignment, allowing plasma to flow down the sides
Blood consists of a suspension of cells and other components in plasma, including red blood cells, which give it its red colour. When blood flows through the narrowest vessels in the body, known as the capillaries, the interactions between the cells become much more important. In a new study published in EPJ E, a team of researchers led by Ignacio Pagonabarraga from the University of Barcelona, Spain, has now developed a mathematical model of how red blood cells flow in narrow, crowded vessels. This could help design more precise methods for intravenous drug delivery, as well as 'microfluidic chips' incorporating artificial capillaries, which could offer faster, simpler and more precise blood-based diagnoses.
- Published on 23 April 2019
Professor Martine Ben Amar (Sorbonne Université, Paris), Managing Editor of EPJ Plus, is the 2018 recipient of the Huy Duong Bui prize - attributed by the French Academy of Sciences for outstanding work in the fields of Mechanics, Computer Science and Astrophysics - for her pioneering work on continuum mechanical models of biological systems.
The publishers and the EPJ Plus journal team congratulate Martine Ben Amar on this prestigious achievement.
- Published on 09 April 2019
Online booking platforms such as Airbnb or Uber present themselves as and strive to be inclusive, but there is an increasing amount of both anecdotal and scientific evidence of discriminatory behavior among their users. In a study published in EPJ Data Science, researchers at University College London set out to evaluate interaction patterns within Airbnb, in an effort to understand the extent to which offline human biases influence affects their users.
Read the guest post by Giacomo Livan, Licia Capra, Weihua Li and Victoria Koh on the SpringerOpen blog
EPJ ST Highlight - Infinite number of quantum particles gives clues to big-picture behaviour at large scale
- Published on 09 April 2019
Scientists gain a deeper understanding of phenomena at macroscopic scale by simulating the consequences of having an infinite number of physical phenomena at quantum scale
In quantum mechanics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle prevents an external observer from measuring both the position and speed (referred to as momentum) of a particle at the same time. They can only know with a high degree of certainty either one or the other - unlike what happens at large scales where both are known. To identify a given particle’s characteristics, physicists introduced the notion of quasi-distribution of position and momentum. This approach was an attempt to reconcile quantum-scale interpretation of what is happening in particles with the standard approach used to understand motion at normal scale, a field dubbed classical mechanics.
In a new study published in EPJ Special Topics, Dr J.S. Ben-Benjamin and colleagues from Texas A&M University, USA, reverse this approach; starting with quantum mechanical rules, they explore how to derive an infinite number of quasi-distributions, to emulate the classical mechanics approach. This approach is also applicable to a number of other variables found in quantum-scale particles, including particle spin.
- Published on 09 April 2019
A new study explores how the characteristics of aromaticity affect the process of Auger decay
When an electron from one of the lower energy levels in an atom is knocked out of the atom, it creates a space which can be filled by one of the higher-energy electrons, also releasing excess energy. This energy is released in an electron called an Auger electron - and produces an effect known as Auger decay. Now, Guoke Zhao from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China and colleagues at Sorbonne University in Paris, France have studied the Auger effect in four hydrocarbon molecules: benzene, cyclohexane, hexatriene and hexadiene. These molecules were chosen because they exhibit different characteristics of aromaticity. The authors found that molecules containing pi bonds have a lower threshold for Auger decay.
- Published on 03 April 2019
Magnetic hyperthermia is still a highly experimental cancer treatment, but new research shows that the therapy is tunable
Unfortunately, cancer isn’t simply a single disease, and some types, like pancreas, brain or liver tumours, are still difficult to treat with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, leading to low survival rates for patients. Thankfully, new therapies are emerging, like therapeutic hyperthermia, which heats tumours by firing nanoparticles into tumour cells. In a new study published in EPJ B, Angl Apostolova from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria and colleagues show that tumour cells’ specific absorption rate of destructive heat depends on the diameter of the nanoparticles and the composition of the magnetic material used to deliver the heat to the tumour.
- Published on 03 April 2019
Using computational models to investigate how liquid drops behave on surfaces
Whether we're aware of it or not, in day-to-day life we often witness an intriguing phenomenon: the breakup of jets of liquid into chains of droplets. It happens when it rains, for example, and it is important for inkjet printers. However, little is known about what happens when a liquid jet, also known as a liquid filament, breaks up on top of a substrate. According to a new study, the presence of a nearby surface changes the way the filament breaks up into smaller droplets. In a new paper published by Andrew Dziedzic at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey, USA, and colleagues in EPJ E, computer simulations are used to show that a filament is more likely to break up near a surface.
- Published on 02 April 2019
New model improves our understanding of energy transfer in radiotherapy treatment plans by replacing 50-year-old parameters with more complex ones
Particle beam therapy is increasingly being used to treat many types of cancer. It consists in subjecting tumours to beams of high-energy charged particles such as protons. Although more targeted than conventional radiotherapy using X-rays, this approach still damages surrounding normal tissue. To design the optimum treatment plan for each patient, it is essential to know the energy of the beam and its effect on tumour and normal tissue alike. In a recent study published in EPJ D, a group of researchers led by Ramin Abolfath at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA, put forward a new mathematical model outlining the effects of these beam therapies on patients' tissues, based on new, more complex, parameters. Using these new models, clinicians should be able to predict the effect of proton beams on normal and tumour tissue more precisely, allowing them to prepare more effective treatment plans.