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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 18:42 EDT

Latest Physical Review Letters Stories

2014-04-09 16:06:13

Physicists play with the genetics of populations What happens when physicists play (using mathematical instruments) with the genetics of populations? They may discover unexpected connections between migration and biodiversity, for example, as recently done by a group of researchers from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste and the Polytechnic University in Turin in a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The effect of migration on...

2014-02-25 14:27:20

When deciding what materials to use in building something, determining how those materials respond to stress and strain is often the first task. A material’s macroscopic, or bulk, properties in this area — whether it can spring back into shape, for example — is generally the product of what is happening on a microscopic scale. When stress causes a material’s constituent molecules to rearrange in a way such that they can't go back to their original positions, it is known as “plastic...

2014-02-10 11:03:42

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist and his colleagues have found a new application for the tools and mathematics typically used in physics to help solve problems in biology. Specifically, the team used statistical mechanics and mathematical modeling to shed light on something known as epigenetic memory -- how an organism can create a biological memory of some variable condition, such as quality of nutrition or temperature. "The work highlights the interdisciplinary...

2013-12-19 12:05:09

This work was recently published in Physical Review Letters In contrast to its apparent simplicity (that brought Einstein his Nobel Prize), the photoelectric effect, when an electron is knocked out from its parent atom by a photon, is quite complicated to analyze in general, especially when the atom contains a large number of electrons. Like the many-body problem in classical mechanics, the quantum many-body problem is very difficult to conceptualize and remains a serious challenge for...

2013-11-19 16:32:26

A team of researchers from the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Japan has demonstrated that the magic numbers 20 and 28 disappear from all neutron-rich magnesium isotopes, thereby establishing a new, larger area of nuclear deformation in the nuclear chart. The Japanese study, published today in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters, was made possible by the intense beam at the Radioactive Beam Factory (RIBF) at RIKEN, which produces the most intense...

2013-10-18 13:03:39

Chaos-on-a-chip model shows crash can be avoided if caught in time It's an idea financial regulators have dreamed of. Experiments on a simple model of chaos have found that it may be possible not only to predict an extreme event, like a stock market collapse, but to intervene and prevent it from happening. In a paper appearing October 21 in the journal Physical Review Letters, an international team of chaos researchers say that these extreme events, which they call "dragon kings," are...

2013-09-18 12:54:10

Researchers have made the first experimental determination of the weak charge of the proton in research carried out at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab). The results, accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters, also include the determinations of the weak charge of the neutron, and of the up quark and down quark. These determinations were made by combining the new data with published data from other experiments. Although these...

2013-08-15 20:55:15

Two NJIT researchers have demonstrated that using a continuum-based approach, they can explain the dynamics of liquid metal particles on a substrate of a nanoscale. "Numerical simulation of ejected molten metal nanoparticles liquified by laser irradiation: Interplay of geometry and dewetting," appeared in Physical Review Letters (July 16, 2013). The evolution of fluid drops deposited on solid substrates has been a focus of large research effort for decades, said co-author Shahriar Afkhami,...

2013-07-29 16:23:33

Physicists use dysprosium to put bounds on maximum speed of electrons Albert Einstein's assertion that there's an ultimate speed limit – the speed of light – has withstood countless tests over the past 100 years, but that didn't stop University of California, Berkeley, postdoc Michael Hohensee and graduate student Nathan Leefer from checking whether some particles break this law. The team's first attempt to test this fundamental tenet of the special...

2013-07-08 14:20:42

Boron arsenide may be of potential interest for cooling applications An unlikely material, cubic boron arsenide, could deliver an extraordinarily high thermal conductivity – on par with the industry standard set by costly diamond – researchers report in the current issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. The discovery that the chemical compound of boron and arsenic could rival diamond, the best-known thermal conductor, surprised the team of...