- 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.
- Published on 17 May 2019
In recent years, the collective efforts of scientists in the application of new technologies and methodologies to different class of archaeological material are receiving signiﬁcant beneﬁts from advances in technology.
At the same time new strategies and, in particular, networking skills and resources encouraging interaction between both humanities and sciences researchers are of crucial importance to face issues concerning the study, restoration and conservation of artworks and archaeological contexts.
- 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 26 March 2019
A new research paper finds the high-energy physics concept of 'un-naturalness' may be applicable to the study of turbulence or that of strongly correlated systems of elementary particles
Many scientists have been disappointed that no new elementary particles have been discovered at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in the wake of the Higgs boson discovery in 2012. The no-show of elusive particles that had previously been predicted by theory is only one example of a 'hole' that has recently appeared in the concept of Naturalness in theoretical physics. In simple terms, the concept states that physical parameters should depend roughly equally on all the terms used to calculate them, in terms of proportion. Sauro Succi, a theoretical physicist at the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Rome, Italy, has now published an intriguing essay in the journal EPJ Plus in which he argues that several common natural phenomena do not operate under ‘Naturalness' at all. Rather, they can only be explained using parameters with widely separated numerical values.
EPJ Plus article on microﬁber pollution in the air selected for Springer Nature Grand Challenges Programme
- Published on 28 January 2019
A new study reports on microplastic fibres in the air, which can potentially enter the human body through breathing.
Microplastics (MPs) are one of the major hot topics in environmental science. Scientists have started to investigate the impact of such pollutants in different habitats, such as oceans, rivers, soils and air. Several studies have shown that MP fibers are very common in the atmosphere. They are invisible to human eye as they are smaller than 5 mm. These fibers, which derive from different sources, float freely in the air pushed by winds. A recent study, published on EPJ Plus, evaluated microfiber pollution in the air of an intercity terminal and a university campus in the Sakarya Province, Turkey.
- Published on 08 January 2019
Physicists and chemists use 3D scanning to unlock the forgotten secrets of the multi-layered coating methods that give violins their exceptional tone and look
Italian violin-making masters of the distant past developed varnishing techniques that lent their instruments both an excellent musical tone and impressive appearance. Few records from this era have survived, as techniques were most often passed down orally to apprentices; only scarce information is available on the original methods used for finishing the instruments. In a new study published in EPJ Plus, Giacomo Fiocco, affiliated with both Pavia and Torino Universities in Italy, and his colleagues use the synchrotron facility in Trieste to develop a non-invasive 3D-scanning approach that yields insights into the main morphological features of the overlapping finishing layers used on violins. In turn, the morphological images can be used to determine the chemical nature of the coating. This newly developed method could help scientists rediscover the procedures and materials used, and reproduce the multi-layered coating methods of the ancient masters.