Distinguished EPJ Referees

EPJ H Highlight - Einstein’s forgotten model of the universe

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An image of the blackboard used in Einstein’s 2nd Rhodes lecture at Oxford in April 1931. © Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford, UK

New insights into Einstein’s view of the cosmos from the translation and study of one of his least known papers

A paper published in EPJ H provides the first English translation and an analysis of one of Albert Einstein’s little-known papers, “On the cosmological problem of the general theory of relativity”. Published in 1931, it features a forgotten model of the universe, while refuting Einstein’s own earlier static model of 1917. In this paper, Einstein introduces a cosmic model in which the universe undergoes an expansion followed by a contraction. This interpretation contrasts with the monotonically expanding universe of the widely known Einstein-de Sitter model of 1932.

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EPJ H Highlight - Einstein’s conversion from a static to an expanding universe

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Einstein and Lemaître photographed around 1933. © Archives Lemaître, Université Catholique, Louvain

Albert Einstein accepted the modern cosmological view that the universe is expanding, only long after several of his contemporaries had demonstrated it with astrophysical observations

Until 1931, physicist Albert Einstein believed that the universe was static. An urban legend attributes this change of perspective to when American astronomer Edwin Hubble showed Einstein his observations of redshift in the light emitted by far away nebulae—today known as galaxies. But the reality is more complex. The change in Einstein’s viewpoint, in fact, resulted from a tortuous thought process. Now, in an article published in EPJ H, Harry Nussbaumer from the Institute of Astronomy at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, explains how Einstein changed his mind following many encounters with some of the most influential astrophysicists of his generation.

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EPJ H now has a second Managing Editor

EPJ H now has a second Managing Editor

Earlier this year Francesco Guerra, who had been a member of the editorial board of EPJ H - Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Physics since its launch in 2010, joined Wolf Beiglböck in managing the journal.

Prof. Francesco Guerra, a graduate from the University of Naples, is full professor of theoretical physics at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza'. He has served on many national academic evaluation committees and is currently a member of the Physics Panel of the National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research.

His scientific interests include quantum field theory and elementary particles, stochastic methods in quantum mechanics, stochastic variational principles, statistical mechanics of spin glasses and complex systems, and the history of modern physics (in particular nuclear physics). In 2008, he was the recipient of the Italian Physical Society’s Prize for History of Physics.

EPJ H Highlight - More than one brain behind E=mc2

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Friedrich Hasenöhrl found proportionality between energy and its mass in a cavity filled with radiation. Source: Österreichische Zentralbibliothek fuer Physik

A new study reveals the contribution of a little known Austrian physicist, Friedrich Hasenöhrl, to uncovering a precursor to Einstein famous equation

An American physicist outlines the role played by Austrian physicist Friedrich Hasenöhrl in establishing the proportionality between the energy (E) of a quantity of matter with its mass (m) in a cavity filled with radiation. In a paper just published in EPJ H, Stephen Boughn from Haverford College in Pensylvannia argues how Hasenöhrl’s work, for which he now receives little credit, may have contributed to the famous equation E=mc2.

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EPJ H - Cosmic Rays: a (partly) untold story

EPJ A – Validating Aspects of the Strong-Coupling Regime of QCD
Domenico Pacini in May 1910 (32 years old) while making a measurement. (Courtesy of the Pacini family.)

The work behind the discovery of cosmic rays, a milestone in science, involved many scientists in Europe and the New World fascinated by the puzzling penetrating radiation, and took place during a period characterized by lack of communication and by nationalism caused primarily by World War I. It took eventually from the turn of the century until 1926 before the extraterrestrial nature of the penetrating radiation was generally accepted.

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EPJ H - Foundations of Quantum Statistical Physics Revisited

There is a divide, in quantum statistical physics, between the "ensemblists" who regard thermal equilibrium as a property of an ensemble (or a mixed state) and the "individualists" who regard thermal equilibrium as a property of an individual system (in a pure state). A long forgotten concept of equilibrium put forward by John von Neumann in 1929 is reanalyzed and shown to be influenced by both approaches, yet to be mainly based on the individualist view - a view that has gained ground recently.

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