2022 Impact factor 1.8
Soft Matter and Biological Physics


EPJ B Highlight - Statistical physics reveals how languages evolve

Charting the survival of linguistic structures

Models based on the principles of statistical physics can provide useful insights into how languages change through contact between speakers of different languages. In particular, the analysis reveals how unusual linguistic forms are more likely to be replaced by more regular ones over time.

The field of historical linguistics explores how languages change over time, with a particular focus on the evolution of sounds, meanings, and structures in words and sentences. So far, however, it hasn’t been widely studied from the viewpoint of statistical physics – which uses mathematical models to explain patterns and behaviours in complex, evolving systems. Through a series of models described in EPJ B, Jean-Marc Luck at Université Paris-Saclay, together with Anita Mehta at the Clarendon Institute in Oxford, use statistical physics to show how exceptions to well-established grammatical rules are linked to the influence of neighbouring languages.


EPJ E Highlight - Training models with a structured data curriculum

Building a structured curriculum of data

By carefully structuring the data used to train models of complex systems by leveraging physics and information theory, researchers can significantly improve the quality of their predictions, without relying on additional principles from machine learning in situations where less information about the system is available.

Researchers are now increasingly driven to identify and model the intricate mathematical patterns found in complex natural systems, where the interactions of many simple parts and subsystems can give rise to deeply intricate mathematical patterns. Today, machine learning is the most widely used technique to model these systems. Through new analysis in EPJ E, a research team at Université Paris-Saclay shows how a ‘curriculum learning’ approach, which carefully structures the data used to train models, can significantly improve their results, without relying on additional machine learning principles.


EPJ Plus Focus Point Issue: Breakthrough Optics- and Complex Systems-based Technologies of Modulation of Drainage and Clearing Functions of the Brain

Guest Editors: Jürgen Kurths, Thomas Penzel, Valery Tuchin, Teemu Myllylä, Ruikang Wang, Oxana Semyachkina-Glushkovskaya

The treatment of brain diseases during sleep is a pioneering trend in modern medicine. This is due to new discoveries in the science of lymphatic "vessels-vacuums" that clean the brain during deep sleep. Today, sleep is considered as a novel biomarker and a promising therapeutic target for brain diseases associated with the drainage system injuries and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) leakage, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, depression, brain trauma and intracranial hemorrhages. This issue presents multi-disciplinary approaches, including nonlinear signal processing analysis, maсhine learning technologies, modeling of the brain drainage system, optical methods, brave and innovative ideas and very promising experimental and clinical results focusing on the study of therapeutic and diagnostic properties of sleep as well as the development of novel strategies for the modulation of restorative sleep functions.

All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 13 May 2023. For further information, read the Editorial.

EPJ Web of Conferences Highlight - ESSENA11: 11th European Summer School on Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics

More than 70 participants from 15 countries attended ESSENA11, in Catania, in June 2022.

The European Summer School on Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics has run for more than 2 decades and brings together nuclear physicists and astrophysicists from major universities, laboratories and research facilities. It has been organized jointly by the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Sud (Catania) and the Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia “E. Majorana” of the Catania University.

It is an opportunity to present novel work across the full range of both theoretical and experimental activities covering all novel aspects ranging from cosmology to stellar physics as well as nuclear aspects, methods and instruments related to investigations of nuclear reactions important for nuclear astrophysics.


Quentin Glorieux joins the EPJ Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)

Quentin Glorieux

The Scientific Advisory Committee of EPJ is delighted to welcome Professor Quentin Glorieux, as the new representative for the French Physical Society.

Quentin Glorieux is Associate Professor at Sorbonne Université, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, and fellow member of Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). His expertise covers a broad range of topics from nanooptics to quantum gases and superfluidity. In the last years, his experimental work focus on Quantum Fluids of Light to simulate many-body physics and analogue gravity with light in various platforms (from exciton-polaritons in microcavities to non-linear propagation of light in atomic vapors.)

EPJ ST issue: Trends in Recurrence Analysis of Dynamical Systems

More than a decade has passed since the publication of the special issue “20 Years of Recurrence Plots: Perspectives for a Multi-purpose Tool of Nonlinear Data Analysis” in the European Physical Journal—Special Topics (EPJST). The hope for further developments inspired by the interesting contributions in this special issue was fully realized. We see an amazing development in the field of recurrence plots (RPs), recurrence quantification analysis (RQA), and recurrence networks. Recurrence analysis is not just one method; it has emerged as an entire framework with many extensions, special recurrence definitions, and specifically designed methods and tools. It has found spreading applications in diverse and growing scientific fields. Recurrence analysis has become a widely accepted concept, even referred to in studies that are actually not using it as a method, but rather using it as a reference or alternative tool. It continues to be an active area of research and development today. An attempt to provide an overview of the most significant technical developments of this recurrence-plot-based framework in the past decade is included in this special issue.

All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 8 May 2023. For further information read the Editorial by Norbert Marwan, Charles L. Webber & Andrzej Rysak ”Trends in recurrence analysis of dynamical systems” Eur. Phys. J. Spec. Top. 232, 1–3 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1140/epjs/s11734-023-00766-z.

EPJ Plus Highlight - Better simulations of neutron scattering

Estimating neutron scattering after a collision

A new simulation approach named eTLE aims to improve the precision of a primary tool for estimating neutron behaviours in 3D space. This study examines the approach in detail – validating its reliability in predicting the scattering of neutrons in crystalline media.

Tripoli-4® is a tool used by researchers to simulate the behaviours of interacting neutrons in 3D space. Recently, researchers developed a new ‘next-event estimator’ (NEE) for Tripoli-4®. Named eTLE, this approach aims to increase Tripoli-4®’s precision using Monte Carlo simulations: a class of algorithms which solve problems by repeatedly estimating the characteristics of a whole population of neutrons, by selecting random groups of individuals. Through new research published in EPJ Plus, a team led by Henri Hutinet at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission implement and validate eTLE’s reliability for the first time.


EPJ Plus Focus Point on Tensions in Cosmology from Early to Late Universe: The Value of the Hubble Constant and the Question of Dark Energy

Guest editors: S. Capozziello, V.G. Gurzadyan

The papers included in this Focus Point collection are devoted to one of the hot topics in modern cosmology - the Hubble constant tension – claimed as a discrepancy between the descriptions of the early and late Universe. A broad range of topics are involved in the Hubble tension issue, from the sophisticated methods of observational data analysis up to dark energy models dealing with modifications of the standard cosmological model and related to the extensions of the General Relativity. The papers included in the collection are authored by known experts and groups, and reflect the diversity of approaches, both, aiming in solving the tension improving measurements and datasets and in searching for new physics capable of addressing the problem.

All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 3 May 2023. For further information, read the Editorial.

EPJ ST Highlight - Tracking how magnetism affects animal behaviour

Behavioural testing of animal magnetic sensing in the laboratory and the wild.

We still know little about how animal behaviour changes in response to magnetic fields. A new review provides a tutorial introduction to the study of this fascinating and potentially useful phenomenon.

For over 50 years, scientists have observed that the behaviour of a wide variety of animals can be influenced by the Earth’s magnetic field. However, despite decades of research, the exact nature of this ‘magnetic sense’ remains elusive. Will Schneider and Richard Holland from Bangor University in Wales and their co-worker Oliver Lindecke from the Institute for Biology, Oldenburg, Germany have now written a comprehensive overview of this cross-disciplinary field, with an emphasis on the methodology involved. This work is now published in EPJ ST.


EPJ B Highlight - 2D Janus materials could harvest abundant hydrogen fuel

Top and side views of the Janus monolayer

A new group of asymmetric 2D materials can readily catalyse the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen – providing a reliable source of hydrogen fuel.

Several studies have predicted that the water splitting reaction could be catalysed by certain groups of 2D materials – each measuring just a few atoms thick. One particularly promising group are named 2D Janus materials, whose two sides each feature a different molecular composition. Through new calculations detailed in EPJ B, Junfeng Ren and colleagues at Shandong Normal University in China present a new group of four 2D Janus materials, which could be especially well suited to the task.


F. Croccolo, G. Fragneto and H. Stark
Many thanks for the prompt and very professional editing. Kudos for your work!

Igor M. Kulić, CNRS, Institute Charles Sadron, Strasbourg, France

ISSN (Print Edition): 1292-8941
ISSN (Electronic Edition): 1292-895X

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