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Concept: Max Planck


The construction of a relativistic thermodynamics theory is still controversial after more than 110 years. To the date there is no agreement on which set of relativistic transformations of thermodynamic quantities is the correct one, or if the problem even has a solution. Starting from Planck and Einstein, several authors have proposed their own reasoning, concluding that a moving body could appear cooler, hotter or at the same temperature as measured by a local observer. In this article we present a review of the main theories of relativistic thermodynamics, with an special emphasis on the physical assumptions adopted by each one. We also present a set of relativistic transformations that we have derived by assuming the laws of Thermodynamics to be covariant. We found that under such assumptions a moving body appears to be hotter. Since relativistic thermodynamics is a topic that can be treated as part of an undergraduate course of classical thermodynamics or modern physics, the review and our own derivations presented here aim to encourage undergraduate physics students to open a discussion on the fundamental assumptions in thermodynamics and to engage in research activities early in their scientific career.

Concepts: Scientific method, Energy, Physics, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Entropy, Laws of thermodynamics, Max Planck


The present work discusses the mean-field limit for the quantum N-body problem in the semiclassical regime. More precisely, we establish a convergence rate for the mean-field limit which is uniform as the ratio of Planck constant to the action of the typical single particle tends to zero. This convergence rate is formulated in terms of a quantum analogue of the quadratic Monge-Kantorovich or Wasserstein distance. This paper is an account of some recent collaboration with C. Mouhot, T. Paul and M. Pulvirenti.This article is part of the themed issue ‘Hilbert’s sixth problem’.

Concepts: Time, Photon, Energy, Quantum mechanics, Ratio, Real number, Max Planck, Hilbert's problems


Emmanuelle Charpentier is a French microbiologist, geneticist and biochemist. She is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Honorary Professor at Humboldt University, Visiting Professor at Umeå University and recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. Prior to her current appointments, she worked at several other institutions in Germany, Sweden, Austria, the US and France. Emmanuelle Charpentier’s research on a bacterial immune system laid the foundation for the ground-breaking CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering technology. She has received numerous prestigious awards and distinctions, and is an elected member of several renowned academies of sciences. She is co-founder of CRISPR Therapeutics and ERS Genomics.

Concepts: Bacteria, Germany, Max Planck, Alexander von Humboldt, Max Planck Society, Otto Hahn, Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin


More than 100 years ago Max von Laue in Munich discovered that X‑rays can be interpreted not only as X‑ray quanta in a particle picture, but also show a wave character. This property has been used for a long time in basic research (e.g. in crystallography for determining the structure of proteins), but so far has had no application in medical imaging. In the last 10 years, however, very impressive technological progress could be made in preclinical research, which also makes the utilization of the wave character of X‑ray light possible for medical imaging. These novel radiography procedures, so-called phase-contrast and dark-field imaging, have a great potential for a pronounced improvement in X‑ray imaging and therefore, also the diagnosis of important diseases. This article describes the basic principles of these novel procedures, summarizes the preclinical research results already achieved exemplified by various organs and shows the potential for future clinical utilization in radiography and computed tomography.

Concepts: X-ray, Crystallography, Medical imaging, Radiography, Paul Peter Ewald, Werner Heisenberg, Max von Laue, Max Planck


There are various developments and inventions from Germany that have influenced not only the domestic but also the international field of ophthalmology. Beginning with the invention of the ophthalmoscope by Hermann von Helmholtz in 1850, to the establishment of the “Archives of Ophthalmology” medical journal, a publication founded by Albrecht von Graefe in 1854, through to the development of the retinal chip by Eberhart Zrenner and colleagues with the first clinical data collected in 2007. The abovenamed and further developments and the German ophthalmologists behind these inventions are discussed in more detail.

Concepts: Visual perception, Ophthalmology, Wilhelm Wundt, Hermann von Helmholtz, Max Planck, Albrecht von Graefe, German ophthalmologists


Contributions from men to radiation science are well known, particularly the early contributions from such luminaries as William Roentgen, James Chadwick, Niels Bohr, Robert Oppenheimer, and the like. Although not ignored per se, beyond Marie Curie and Lise Meitner, the contributions of female nuclear scientists are not as widely recognized. This paper provides a concise historical summary of contributions to radiation science from the discovery of radiation through the current status of international leadership within the radiation protection community. Beyond lead scientists and academics, this paper also considers support personnel as well as the role women have played in the advancement of radiation epidemiology.

Concepts: Nuclear physics, Uranium, Nuclear fission, Nobel Prize, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Manhattan Project, Lise Meitner


Small systems are known to deviate from the classical thermodynamic description, among other things due to their large surface area to volume ratio compared to corresponding big systems. As a consequence, extensive thermodynamic properties are no longer proportional to the volume, but are instead higher order functions of size and shape. We investigate such functions for second moments of probability distributions of fluctuating properties in the grand-canonical ensemble, focusing specifically on the volume and surface terms of Hadwiger’s theorem, explained in Klain, Mathematika, 1995, 42, 329-339. We resolve the shape dependence of the surface term and show, using Hill’s nanothermodynamics [Hill, J. Chem. Phys., 1962, 36, 3182], that the surface satisfies the thermodynamics of a flat surface as described by Gibbs [Gibbs, The Scientific Papers of J. Willard Gibbs, Volume 1, Thermodynamics, Ox Bow Press, Woodbridge, Connecticut, 1993]. The Small System Method (SSM), first derived by Schnell et al. [Schnell et al., J. Phys. Chem. B, 2011, 115, 10911], is extended and used to analyze simulation data on small systems of water. We simulate water as an example to illustrate the method, using TIP4P/2005 and other models, and compute the isothermal compressibility and thermodynamic factor. We are able to retrieve the experimental value of the bulk phase compressibility within 2%, and show that the compressibility of nanosized volumes increases by up to a factor of two as the number of molecules in the volume decreases. The value for a tetrahedron, cube, sphere, polygon, etc. can be predicted from the same scaling law, as long as second order effects (nook and corner effects) are negligible. Lastly, we propose a general formula for finite reservoir correction to fluctuations in subvolumes.

Concepts: Volume, Thermodynamics, Gibbs free energy, Statistical mechanics, Sphere, Chemical engineering, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Max Planck


In this study, based on in situ generation of CdS quantum dots (QDs) on the surface of branched TiO2 (B-TiO2) nanorods, an solar innovative photoelectrochemical (PEC) sensing platform was constructed for real-time, and sensitive detection of cellular H2S. Specifically, B-TiO2 nanorods arrays consisting of TiO2 nanorods directly grown on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) further using TiCl3 mediated surface treatment of TiO2 nanorods are designed and fabricated as a new type of photoelectrode. CdS quantum dots (QDs) was formed on the surface of B-TiO2 nanorods arrays through the reaction between Cd(2+) and S(2-). And a significant enhancement in the photocurrent was obtained that ascribed to the formation of CdS-B-TiO2 heterostructures, thus leading to sensitive PEC recording of the H2S level in buffer and cellular environments. By using Prussian blue (PB) a electrochromic material to capture the photoelectron generated from the photoelectrode, a new visual system was proposed due to the formation of Prussian white (PW), which could be used to visualize the quantum photoelectric effect. This novel PEC sensing platform not only achieved satisfied analysis results toward S(2-), but also showed excellent sensitivity, selectivity, low cost, and portable features. The strategy through the in situ generation of semiconductor nanoparticles on the surface of wide band-gap semiconductor paves the way for the improvements of PEC analytical performance. Meanwhile, the quantitative read-out electrochromic display paves a facile avenue and initiates new opportunities for creation of cheap, miniaturization sensors for other relevant analytes.

Concepts: Electron, Photon, Quantum mechanics, Light, Photoelectric effect, Solar cell, Albert Einstein, Max Planck


To compare the growth attainment of preterm children and their cardiovascular risk factors at adolescence with the values measured in term children in Germany.

Concepts: Cardiovascular disease, Germany, Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Bernhard Riemann, Karl Weierstrass, Max Born


During the StatPhys Conference on 20th July 2016 in Lyon, France, Yves Pomeau and Daan Frenkel will be awarded the most important prize in the field of Statistical Mechanics: the 2016 Boltzmann Medal, named after the Austrian physicist and philosopher Ludwig Boltzmann. The award recognises Pomeau’s key contributions to the Statistical Physics of non-equilibrium phenomena in general. And, in particular, for developing our modern understanding of fluid mechanics, instabilities, pattern formation and chaos. He is recognised as an outstanding theorist bridging disciplines from applied mathematics to statistical physics with a profound impact on the neighbouring fields of turbulence and mechanics. In the article Sabine Louët interviews Pomeau, who is an Editor for the European Physical Journal Special Topics. He shares his views and tells how he experienced the rise of Statistical Mechanics in the past few decades. He also touches upon the need to provide funding to people who have the rare ability to discover new things and ideas, and not just those who are good at filling in grant application forms.

Concepts: Mathematics, Physics, Thermodynamics, Entropy, Statistical mechanics, Applied mathematics, Ludwig Boltzmann, Max Planck