Physica Scripta is published by the IOP on behalf of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for the Science Academies and the Physical Societies of the Nordic Countries.
Paper of the Week – Ultra-power shock wave driven by a laser-accelerated electron beam The author, S Yu Gus'kov, reviews the use of laser-accelerated fast electrons in generating ultra-powerful shock waves, with pressures of hundreds of Mbar or even several Gbar. There is direct relevance to important applications, including shock ignition in inertial fusion targets and exploring the equations of state in matter under extreme conditions. This article is from the special issue to celebrate 150 years of Margarita and Vladimir Man'ko.
PFMC 2015 Poster Prize Winner Congratulations to Gerd Meisl of Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik for being voted as having the best poster at the recent Plasma-facing Materials and Components conference, for his poster 'Simulating the nitrogen migration in Be/W tokamaks with WallDYN'. Well done!
New collection of invited papers - Cold matter, quantum optics, and quantum information in Mexico
Physica Scripta is pleased to present this collection of 19 invited articles, which have been specially comissioned by Octavio Castanos and Margarita Man'ko of the Editorial Board
New special issue - ICAMDATA 2014
Selected papers from the 9th International Conference on Atomic and Molecular Data and Their Applications (ICAMDATA 2014), held at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, 21-25 September 2014, have been published as a special issue of Physica Scripta.
Highlights of 2014
Don't miss our new collection of papers, celebrating the research that was published with us last year. All the papers are free to read until 31 December 2015.
In the last 30 days
B Cameron Reed 2015 Phys. Scr. 90 088001
August 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombs, the products of the United States Army’s Manhattan Project, helped to end World War II and had enormous long-term effects on global political strategies by setting the stage for the Cold War and nuclear proliferation. This article explores the context and legacy of the Manhattan Project. The state of the war in the summer of 1945 is described, as are how the target cities came to be chosen, deliberations surrounding whether the bombs should be used directly or demonstrated first, and the long-term effects of the Project on individual scientists, the relationship between scientists and society, the subsequent development of nuclear arsenals around the world, and the current status of these arsenals and how they might evolve in the future.
Mar?a A H Vozmediano and F Guinea 2012 Phys. Scr. 2012 014015
We give an update of the situation concerning the effect of electron–electron interactions on the physics of a neutral graphene system at low energies. We revise old renormalization group results and the use of 1/ N expansion to address questions of the possible opening of a low-energy gap, and the magnitude of the graphene fine structure constant. We emphasize the role of Fermi velocity as the only free parameter determining the transport and electronic properties of the graphene system and revise its renormalization by Coulomb interactions in the light of recent experimental evidence.
S Pfalzner et al 2015 Phys. Scr. 90 068001
The solar system started to form about 4.56 Gyr ago and despite the long intervening time span, there still exist several clues about its formation. The three major sources for this information are meteorites, the present solar system structure and the planet-forming systems around young stars. In this introduction we give an overview of the current understanding of the solar system formation from all these different research fields. This includes the question of the lifetime of the solar protoplanetary disc, the different stages of planet formation, their duration, and their relative importance. We consider whether meteorite evidence and observations of protoplanetary discs point in the same direction. This will tell us whether our solar system had a typical formation history or an exceptional one. There are also many indications that the solar system formed as part of a star cluster. Here we examine the types of cluster the Sun could have formed in, especially whether its stellar density was at any stage high enough to influence the properties of today’s solar system. The likelihood of identifying siblings of the Sun is discussed. Finally, the possible dynamical evolution of the solar system since its formation and its future are considered.
K S Novoselov and A H Castro Neto 2012 Phys. Scr. 2012 014006
Graphene is just one example of a large class of two-dimensional crystals. These crystals can either be extracted from layered three-dimensional materials or grown artificially by several different methods. Furthermore, they present physical properties that are unique because of the low dimensionality and their special crystal structure. They have potential for semiconducting behavior, magnetism, superconductivity, and even more complex many-body phenomena. Two-dimensional crystals can also be assembled in three-dimensional heterostructures that do not exist in nature and have tailored properties, opening an entirely new chapter in condensed matter research.
Sukang Bae et al 2012 Phys. Scr. 2012 014024
Since the first isolation of graphene in 2004 by mechanical exfoliation from graphite, many people have tried to synthesize large-scale graphene using various chemical methods. In particular, there has been a great number of advances in the synthesis of graphene using chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on metal substrates such as Ni and Cu. Recently, a method to synthesize ultra-large-scale (~30 inch) graphene films using roll-to-roll transfer and chemical doping processes was developed that shows excellent electrical and physical properties suitable for practical applications on a large scale. Considering the outstanding scalability/processibility of roll-to-roll and CVD methods as well as the extraordinary flexibility/conductivity of graphene films, we expect that transparent graphene electrodes can replace indium tin oxide in the near future.
Seth D Baum 2014 Phys. Scr. 89 128004
Some emerging technologies promise to significantly improve the human condition, but come with a risk of failure so catastrophic that human civilization may not survive. This article discusses the great downside dilemma posed by the decision of whether or not to use these technologies. The dilemma is: use the technology, and risk the downside of catastrophic failure, or do not use the technology, and suffer through life without it. Historical precedents include the first nuclear weapon test and messaging to extraterrestrial intelligence. Contemporary examples include stratospheric geoengineering, a technology under development in response to global warming, and artificial general intelligence, a technology that could even take over the world. How the dilemma should be resolved depends on the details of each technology’s downside risk and on what the human condition would otherwise be. Meanwhile, other technologies do not pose this dilemma, including sustainable design technologies, nuclear fusion power, and space colonization. Decisions on all of these technologies should be made with the long-term interests of human civilization in mind. This paper is part of a series of papers based on presentations at the Emerging Technologies and the Future of Humanity event held at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 17 March 2014.
Ian Robinson and Sally Robinson 2015 Phys. Scr. 90 048003
This is an account of my life and my contributions to crystallography which have led to my receiving the 2015 Aminoff Prize. Periods discussed in this article are childhood influences, formal training at Harvard, life as an independent researcher at Bell Labs, starting the academic routine at Illinois and then London. Three major discoveries are presented in the form of anecdotes, on the silicon 7 × 7 structure, on crystal truncation rods and coherent x-ray diffraction. Much of my work has centered on the need for developing the instrumentation behind the intellectual steps, such as beamlines at the Brookhaven, Argonne, and Diamond synchrotron radiation facilities. This trend continues with the emergence of new possibilities for crystallography using x-ray free-electron lasers.
Kaj Sotala and Roman V Yampolskiy 2015 Phys. Scr. 90 018001
Many researchers have argued that humanity will create artificial general intelligence (AGI) within the next twenty to one hundred years. It has been suggested that AGI may inflict serious damage to human well-being on a global scale (‘catastrophic risk’). After summarizing the arguments for why AGI may pose such a risk, we review the fieldʼs proposed responses to AGI risk. We consider societal proposals, proposals for external constraints on AGI behaviors and proposals for creating AGIs that are safe due to their internal design.
D J Dunstan and D J Hodgson 2014 Phys. Scr. 89 068002
Many gardeners and horticulturalists seek non-chemical methods to control populations of snails. It has frequently been reported that snails that are marked and removed from a garden are later found in the garden again. This phenomenon is often cited as evidence for a homing instinct. We report a systematic study of the snail population in a small suburban garden, in which large numbers of snails were marked and removed over a period of about 6 months. While many returned, inferring a homing instinct from this evidence requires statistical modelling. Monte Carlo techniques demonstrate that movements of snails are better explained by drift under the influence of a homing instinct than by random diffusion. Maximum likelihood techniques infer the existence of two groups of snails in the garden: members of a larger population that show little affinity to the garden itself, and core members of a local garden population that regularly return to their home if removed. The data are strongly suggestive of a homing instinct, but also reveal that snail-throwing can work as a pest management strategy.
Garry Robinson and Ian Robinson 2013 Phys. Scr. 88 018101
In this paper the differential equations which govern the motion of a spherical projectile rotating about an arbitrary axis in the presence of an arbitrary ‘wind’ are developed. Three forces are assumed to act on the projectile: (i) gravity, (ii) a drag force proportional to the square of the projectile's velocity and in the opposite direction to this velocity and (iii) a lift or ‘Magnus’ force also assumed to be proportional to the square of the projectile's velocity and in a direction perpendicular to both this velocity and the angular velocity vector of the projectile. The problem has been coded in Matlab and some illustrative model trajectories are presented for ‘ball-games’, specifically golf and cricket, although the equations could equally well be applied to other ball-games such as tennis, soccer or baseball.
Spin about an arbitrary axis allows for the treatment of situations where, for example, the spin has a component about the direction of travel. In the case of a cricket ball the subtle behaviour of so-called ‘drift’, particularly ‘late drift’, and also ‘dip’, which may be produced by a slow bowler's off or leg-spin, are investigated. It is found that the trajectories obtained are broadly in accord with those observed in practice. We envisage that this paper may be useful in two ways: (i) for its inherent scientific value as, to the best of our knowledge, the fundamental equations derived here have not appeared in the literature and (ii) in cultivating student interest in the numerical solution of differential equations, since so many of them actively participate in ball-games, and they will be able to compare their own practical experience with the overall trends indicated by the numerical results.
As the paper presents equations which can be further extended, it may be of interest to research workers. However, since only the most basic principles of fundamental mechanics are employed, it should be well within the grasp of first year university students in physics and engineering and, with the guidance of teachers, good final year secondary school students. The trajectory results included may be useful to sporting personnel with no formal training in physics.