Oxford, UK, 3-6 April 2017
- Published on Sunday, 31 January 2016 11:45
Scientists develop potential visual test for diagnosing invasive states of breast cancer cells
The micro-environment surrounding cancer cells is just as important as genes in regulating tumour progression. Scientists have therefore examined the biophysical and biochemical cues occurring in the vicinity of cancer cells. This represents a departure from the traditional measurement of secreted molecules, called biomarkers. The latest research in this field, recently published in EPJ Plus, found that the presence of a substance called Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) promotes the motility of elongated mesenchymal tumour cells, which migrate depending on their adhesive properties by climbing along collagen fibres, in contrast to rounded tumour cells, which migrate in an adhesion-independent manner. These findings stem from the work of Dongil Geum and BJ Kim in the Wu biofluifics lab at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
- Published on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 18:04
Highest sensitivity detector ever used for very light dark matter elementary particles
The origin of matter in the universe has puzzled physicists for generations. Today, we know that matter only accounts for 5% of our universe; another 25% is constituted of dark matter. And the remaining 70% is made up of dark energy. Dark matter itself represents an unsolved riddle.
Physicists believe that such dark matter is composed of (as yet undefined) elementary particles that stick together thanks to gravitational force. In a study recently published in EPJ C, scientists from the CRESST-II research project use the so-called phonon-light technique to detect dark matter. They are the first to use a detection probe that operates with such a low trigger threshold, which yields suitable sensitivity levels to uncover the as-yet elusive particles responsible for dark matter.
- Published on Wednesday, 20 January 2016 15:06
Understanding vibrations in condensed matter, and in particular how to control these vibrations, is proving essential both at a fundamental level and for the development of a broad variety of technological applications. Intelligent design of the band structure and transport properties of phonons at the nanoscale, including their interactions with electrons and photons, has improved the efficiency of nanoelectronic systems and thermoelectric materials, permitted the exploration of quantum phenomena with micro- and nanoscale resonators, and provided new tools for spectroscopy and imaging.
- Published on Monday, 18 January 2016 13:51
Numerical model takes us one step closer to understanding anti-hydrogen formation, to explain the prevalence of matter and antimatter in the universe
Antihydrogen is a particular kind of atom, made up of the antiparticle of an electron - a Positron - and the antiparticle of a Proton - an antiproton. Scientists hope that studying the formation of anti hydrogen will ultimately help explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. In a new study published in EPJ D, Igor Bray and colleagues from Curtin University, Perth, Australia, demonstrate that the two different numerical calculation approaches they developed specifically to study collisions are in accordance. As such, their numerical approach could therefore be used to explain antihydrogen formation.
- Published on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 14:36
New study models adhesion force as key to contact between two rough, yet elastic, surfaces
Imagine a new type of tyres whose structure has been designed to have greater adhesion on the road. Quite a timely discussion during the long winter nights. French physicists have now developed a model to study the importance of adhesion in establishing contact between two patterned, yet elastic, surfaces. Nature is full of examples of amazing adjustable adhesion power, like the feet of geckos, covered in multiple hairs of decreasing size. Until now, most experimental and theoretical studies have only focused on the elastic deformation of surfaces, neglecting the adhesion forces between such surfaces. This new approach just published in EPJ E, by Laetitia Dies and colleagues from the Paris Sud University, France, matters when the scale of adhesive forces, is comparable to elastic forces on materials such a tyres.
- Published on Friday, 18 December 2015 17:35
Smart phone monitoring has become a boon for scientists studying human behaviour and factors influencing stress
Using mobile phones for research is not new. However, interpreting the data collected from volunteers’ own smart phones--which has the potential to emulate randomised trials--can advance research into human behaviour. In a new study published in EPJ Data Science, scientists have just demonstrated the potential of using smart phones for conducting large-scale behavioural studies.The results stem from the work of Fani Tsapeli from the University of Birmingham, UK, and her colleague and Mirco Musolesi from University College London, UK. In their study, they evaluate the cause of increased stress levels of participants using user-generated data, harvested from their phones.
- Published on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 14:39
Creation of ephemeral muonium atoms could help measure proton size
A true-muonium only lives for two microseconds. These atoms are made up one positively and one negatively charged elementary particle, also known as muons. Although they have yet to be observed experimentally, a Japanese theoretical physicist has come up with new ways of creating them, in principle, via particle collisions. The first method involves colliding a negatively charged muon and a muonium atom made up of a positive muon and an electron. The second involves colliding a positively charged muon and a muonic hydrogen atom made up of a proton and a negative muon. The author found that the second option offers the most promising advances for muonium detection. These findings have been published in EPJ D by Kazuhiro Sakimoto from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Kanagawa.
- Published on Monday, 07 December 2015 16:08
Cancer risk debate laid to rest by novel calculations distinguishing population-wide risks for each organ and individual risks linked to environmental and genetic factors
A recent study published in Science by Tomasetti and Vogelstein suggests that variations in terms of cancer risk among tissues from various organs in the body merely amount to pure bad luck. In other words, cancer risk is linked to random mutations arising in the normal course of DNA replication of healthy cells. They also claim that environmental and genetic factors play a lesser role. The scientific community has primarily reacted negatively to this interpretation and promptly refuted it with qualitative arguments and empirical evidence. Joining these voices are Didier Sornette and Maroussia Favre from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, who uncovered the statistical fallacy at the source of the Science paper’s conclusion. The key is to distinguish between individual organ risks and population risks, they wrote in recent correspondence published in EPJ Nonlinear Biomedical Physics. They also contend that the role of genetic and environmental factors must not be underplayed, even if these factors cannot explain differences in cancer rates between different organs.
- Published on Wednesday, 02 December 2015 11:42
The Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics is given annually to recognize outstanding scholarly achievements in the history of physics. Professor Allan Franklin, who is an Editor of EPJ H and author of the Springer book The Rise and Fall of the Fifth Force, receives the 2016 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics for "path-breaking historical analyses of the roles of experiment in physics and for explicating the nature of evidence and error in scientific argument".
- Published on Wednesday, 02 December 2015 09:13
High-precision and high-accuracy magnetic field measurement to support quest for missing antimatter in the universe
Every measurement is potentially prone to systematic error. The more sensitive the measurement method, the more important it is to make sure it is also accurate. This is key for example in measuring magnetic fields in state-of-the-art fundamental physics experiments. Now, an international team of physicists has developed an extremely high-precision method for the determination of magnetic fields. The resulting device, they found, has an intrinsic sensitivity that makes it ideal for fundamental physics and cosmology experiments attempting to explain the missing antimatter of the universe. The findings by Hans-Christian Koch from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and colleagues have just been published in EPJ D.