Europhysics News

List of Papers (Total 1,523)

A newcomer: the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator

Stellarators (“star generators”) belong to the earliest concepts for magnetic confinement of fusion plasmas. In May 1951, a confidential report authored by Lyman Spitzer at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) was issued, in which he proposed the “figure eight” stellarator based on the idea to generate the required rotational transform of magnetic field lines by...

On the origin of the cosmic elements and the nuclear history of the universe

The quest for the energy source of stars, capable of maintaining their long-lasting brightness, has puzzled physicists during centuries. Early suggestions, due to Julius R. von Mayer, John James Waterson, Hermann von Helmholtz, and William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), among others, relied on the conversion of gravitational potential energy into heat. However, the age of the Sun...

20 Years of SOHO

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a joint mission of ESA and NASA, has provided unparalleled insight into the Sun over the past 20 years – from its interior, through the hot and dynamic atmosphere, out to the solar wind and its interaction with the interstellar medium. SOHO also plays a vital role in forecasting potentially dangerous space weather situations by...

CO2-Neutral Fuels

Mimicking the biogeochemical cycle of System Earth, synthetic hydrocarbon fuels are produced from recycled CO2 and H2O powered by renewable energy. Recapturing CO2 after use closes the carbon cycle, rendering the fuel cycle CO2 neutral. Non-equilibrium molecular CO2 vibrations are key to high energy efficiency.

Fascinating optics in a glass of water

In Ref. [1] Jo Hermans discussed how the image of a horizontal arrow behind a glass of water reverses direction when it is moved away from the glass. The present paper deals with some other interesting effects that can be observed when looking at a drawing (source) taped tightly onto the back of a cylindrical glass of water, or beer, or white wine, whatever the reader prefers.

EPL for the IYL 2015

The European Physical Society has greatly contributed to the celebration of the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) in various ways [1]. In particular Europhysics News has concluded the year 2015 with a Special Issue on the Science of Light which illustrates, through six short reviews, the leading role that Europe in maintaining in several areas of...

Physics of rapid movements in plants

Plants move, and not only under the action of the wind or during growth. Although they lack muscle, some have developed mechanisms to generate surprisingly fast movements, with speeds (about 10 m/s) and accelerations (thousands of g) that compete and even surpass those encountered in the animal kingdom.

Quantum light - The puzzling predictions of entanglement are coming of age

Entanglement is the physical property that marks the most striking deviation of the quantum from the classical world. It has been mentioned first by the great Austrian Physicist Erwin Schr¨odinger in 1935 (an introduction to this and other quantum phenomena is given in [1]). Yet, despite this theoretical prediction now being 80 years old, and the famous experimental verifications...

Extreme light - An intense pursuit of fundamental high energy physics

By the compression of petawatt pulses to multi-exawatt, a new route for the generation of Schwinger intensities capable of producing highenergy radiation and particle beams with extremely short time structure down to the attosecond-zeptosecond regime is being presented. Far from the traditional laser investigation in the eV regime, this laser-based approach offers a new paradigm...

Bursting money bins, the ice and water structure

In the classic comics by Carl Barks, “The Big Bin on Killmotor Hill” [1], Uncle Scrooge, trying to defend his money bin from the Beagle Boys, follows a suggestion by Donald Duck, and fills the bin with water. Unfortunately, that night is going be the coldest one in the history of Ducksburg. The water freezes, bursting the "ten-foot walls

Cosmic rays, clouds and climate

The most profound questions with the most surprising answers are often the simplest to ask. One is: Why is the climate always changing? Historical and archaeological evidence of global warming and cooling that occurred long before the Industrial Revolution, require natural explanations.

Small PET scanner based on MRI-compatible light sensor

Improving the quality of life of elderly people requires diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities for diseases of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy which have a rapidly growing impact on society. Minimallyinvasive imaging technologies such as PET and MRI allow for monitoring and tracking these illnesses, starting from their preliminary...

Crossing borders: the DNA of physics

In cell culture, the physical environment plays an important role: “Everything is everywhere, but the environment selects“[1]. The education of physicists can be viewed within this framework. The Petri dish for the reproduction of physicists is a university research group. The full professor is its DNA. The selection process of new professors – new DNA – is a determining step in...

Showering from high-energy cosmic rays - Can be measured in the high school science lab

In particle physics a ‘shower’ is the avalanche of secondary particles produced by an incoming particle with high energy. This production requires the interaction with mass. A shower produced by high-energy cosmic rays usually covers a wide area, on the order of a square kilometer. The secondary particles can be observed by using scintillators. In view of the large area affected...