Featured in EPN

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The evolution of IBM Research – Looking back at 50 years of scientific achievements and innovations1
by Chris Sciacca and Christophe Rossel

By the mid-1950s IBM had established laboratories in New York City and in San Jose, California, with San Jose being the first one apart from headquarters. This provided considerable freedom to the scientists and with its success IBM executives gained the confidence they needed to look beyond the United States for a third lab. The choice wasn’t easy, but Switzerland was eventually selected based on the same blend of talent, skills and academia that IBM uses today — most recently for its decision to open new labs in Ireland, Brazil and Australia.

Mobility and payload2
by L.J.F. (Jo) Hermans

When moving around, our energy efficiency is heavily influenced by the ratio of the mass being transported to the mass of the vehicle which does the transporting. Professionals call it the ‘Payload Fraction’. Let us call it the PF for simplicity. When we mount our bicycle, we are extremely lucky: the PF is much larger than 1. For a typical cyclist (assumed to be not particularly heavy) we find the PF to be around 5. Cars are nowhere near such high value. If driven by a single person, we find a PF around 0.05, and for a full car around 0.25. Can this compete with trains? That depends: typically trains have a PF of 0.10 to 0.20 while light-weight trains can reach PF of more than 0.35 if people are willing to stand.

Fantastic plastic makes the quantum leap3
by Thilo Stöferle and Rainer F. Mahrt

A Bose-Einstein condensate is an intriguing state of matter where extensive collective coherence leads to macroscopic quantum phenomena. It has now been demonstrated using a thin plastic film at room temperature. This provides a new, simple route to experimentally study many-body quantum physics and opens the door for device applications.

100 years of Philips Research4
by Dirk van Delft

On Thursday 23 October 1913, a Dutch newspaper published the following advertisement: Hiring: A capable young scientist with a doctorate in physics. Must be a good experimenter. Letters containing information on age, life history and references may be submitted to Philips in Eindhoven. Two days later, a candidate applied: Gilles Holst. At that time, Holst was working in Leiden as an assistant to Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, a recent Nobel Prize winner.

  1. Chris Sciacca and Christophe Rossel. 2014. The evolution of IBM Research – Looking back at 50 years of scientific achievements and innovations. EPN, Vol. 45, No. 2. DOI: 10.1051/epn/2014201 []
  2. L.J.F. (Jo) Hermans. 2014. Mobility and payload. EPN, Vol. 45, No. 2. DOI: 10.1051/epn/2014202 []
  3. Thilo Stöferle and Rainer F. Mahrt. 2014. Fantastic plastic makes the quantum leap. EPN, Vol. 45, No. 2. DOI: 10.1051/epn/2014203 []
  4. Dirk van Delft. 2014. 100 years of Philips Research. EPN, Vol. 45, No. 2. DOI: 10.1051/epn/2014204 []

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Executive and Staff Activity for March 2014

The EPS works to support its members. Find below for the list of the activities of EPS Executive Committee and staff for March 2014:
- 3-5 March: B. Huchet, EPS Communication coordinator, attends the Inspiring Science Education Consortium meeting in Bayreuth, Germany
- 4 March: J. Dudley, EPS President, meets with International Astronomical Union (IAU) to prepare common IYL2015 actions, Paris, France...