Editoria - luglio 2017
La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento, Vol. 40, N. 7 (2017)
Modeling the brain: Elementary components to explain ensemble functions
E. D’Angelo, C. Gandini Wheeler-Kingshott
The brain is a very fascinating but probably the most complex structure in Nature, and understanding how it works constitutes one of the major scientific challenges of neurosciences. Its complexity is not due to its constituent cells, the neurons, but lies in the complexity of neuronal interactions and their multilayered architecture. Interpreting brain multiscale organization requires the development of appropriate models. In this issue E. D’Angelo and C. Gandini Wheeler-Kingshott, illustrate that these models can be used to explain how ensemble brain function might emerge from elementary neuron components. These studies may have potential applications in the investigation on mental functions and dysfunctions. They could actually foster the reproduction of functions in artificial machines providing new cues for curing brain diseases.
EPJ E – Highlights
Single particle Brownian motion with solid friction
P. Das, S. Puri, M. Schwartz
Leonardo Da Vinci had already noticed it. There is a very peculiar dynamics of granular matter, such as dry sand or grains of wheat. When these granular particles are left on a vibrating solid surface, they are not only subject to random vibrations, they are also under the spell of solid friction forces, like the force a dry floor would exert on a brick in contact with that floor. In a study published in EPJ E, Prasenjit Das from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, and colleagues extended our understanding of this problem from the well-known, one-dimensional case to multiple dimensions. The trouble with the one-dimensional case is that it does not represent physical reality. In this study, the authors have solved the equation describing the effect of solid friction on granular materials for an arbitrary number of dimensions.
EPJ Plus – Highlights
Astronauts to bring asteroid back into lunar orbit
M. Tantardini, E. Flamini
Future space exploration aims to fly further from Earth than ever before. Now, Italian Space Agency scientists have expressed an interest in contributing to the development of robotic technologies to bring an asteroid from beyond lunar orbit back into closer reach in order to better study it. In a paper published in EPJ Plus, Marco Tantardini and Enrico Flamini from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) make the case for taking part in the robotic phase of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). In addition to taking manned spaceflights deeper into space than ever before, the proposed mission would also bring some benefit for planetary science.