Statistical physics, thermodynamics and nonlinear dynamics

  • Article |

    Through an idealized set of simulations, with a model that incorporates key physics, research reveals dramatic swings between massive rainfall events and extended dry periods in hothouse climates.

    • Jacob T. Seeley
    •  & Robin D. Wordsworth
  • Article |

    A macroscopic analogue of a spin system is shown to emerge in an ensemble of droplets bouncing on the surface of a vibrating bath, revealing symmetry-breaking phenomena such as ‘magnetic’ ordering.

    • Pedro J. Sáenz
    • , Giuseppe Pucci
    •  & John W. M. Bush
  • Article |

    Using large-scale mobility data from diverse cities around the globe, a simple and robust scaling law that captures the temporal and spatial range of population movement is revealed.

    • Markus Schläpfer
    • , Lei Dong
    •  & Geoffrey B. West
  • Article |

    The pressure dependence and magnetic field dependence of the specific heat of a quantum magnet, SrCu2(BO3)2, demonstrate that its phase diagram contains a line of first-order transitions terminating at a critical point, in analogy with water.

    • J. Larrea Jiménez
    • , S. P. G. Crone
    •  & F. Mila
  • Article |

    A theoretical study of non-reciprocity in collective phenomena reveals the emergence of time-dependent phases heralded by exceptional points in contexts ranging from synchronization and flocking to pattern formation.

    • Michel Fruchart
    • , Ryo Hanai
    •  & Vincenzo Vitelli
  • Article |

    Analyses of virological and surveillance data in France show that a substantial proportion of symptomatic cases of COVID-19 have remained undetected and that easily accessible and efficient testing is required to control the pandemic.

    • Giulia Pullano
    • , Laura Di Domenico
    •  & Vittoria Colizza
  • Article |

    An atomic simulator formed of a few ultracold fermionic atoms trapped in a two-dimensional harmonic potential exhibits precursors of a quantum phase transition, revealing the onset of collective quantum many-body phenomena in a few-body system.

    • Luca Bayha
    • , Marvin Holten
    •  & Selim Jochim
  • Article |

    A model shows that human mobility is organized within hierarchical containers that coincide with familiar scales and that a power-law distribution emerges when movements between different containers are combined.

    • Laura Alessandretti
    • , Ulf Aslak
    •  & Sune Lehmann
  • Article |

    A theoretical model in the form of a stochastic differential equation is proposed that describes, more accurately than previous models, the population evolution of cities, revealing that rare but very large interurban migration is a dominant factor.

    • Vincent Verbavatz
    •  & Marc Barthelemy
  • Article |

    Manipulation of the effective gravity of an oscillating liquid creates stable buoyancy in the lower surface of a liquid layer levitating above air, allowing bodies to float upside down.

    • Benjamin Apffel
    • , Filip Novkoski
    •  & Emmanuel Fort
  • Article |

    A superconducting diode that has zero resistance in only one direction is realized in an artificially engineered superlattice without inversion symmetry, enabling directional charge transport without energy loss.

    • Fuyuki Ando
    • , Yuta Miyasaka
    •  & Teruo Ono
  • Article |

    A colloidal system is used to demonstrate the Mpemba effect and obtain the parameters responsible for its anomalous relaxation dynamics, which are manipulated to achieve exponentially faster cooling than typical.

    • Avinash Kumar
    •  & John Bechhoefer
  • Article |

    A theoretical framework describing the hydrodynamic interactions between a passive particle and an active medium in out-of-equilibrium systems predicts long-range Lévy flights for the diffusing particle driven by the density of the active component.

    • Kiyoshi Kanazawa
    • , Tomohiko G. Sano
    •  & Adrian Baule
  • Article |

    Dualities—mathematical mappings between different systems—can act as hidden symmetries that enable materials design beyond that suggested by crystallographic space groups.

    • Michel Fruchart
    • , Yujie Zhou
    •  & Vincenzo Vitelli
  • Article |

    A driven–dissipative gas of ultracold potassium atoms is used to demonstrate three key signatures of self-organized criticality, and provides a system in which the phenomenon can be experimentally tested.

    • S. Helmrich
    • , A. Arias
    •  & S. Whitlock
  • Article |

    A model demonstrates that people who eventually succeed and those who do not may initially appear similar, but are characterized by fundamentally distinct failure dynamics in terms of the efficiency and quality of each subsequent attempt to succeed.

    • Yian Yin
    • , Yang Wang
    •  & Dashun Wang
  • Article |

    Microfluidic systems controlled by a single driving pressure are programmed to exhibit complex flow-switching schemes and a fluid analogue of Braess’s paradox by exploiting fluid inertia and network design.

    • Daniel J. Case
    • , Yifan Liu
    •  & Adilson E. Motter
  • Article |

    Architected silicon-based lattices are reported that reversibly transform their structure on electrochemical lithiation and delithiation, through cooperatively coupled buckling instabilities that are sensitive to random  and  pre-designed defects.

    • Xiaoxing Xia
    • , Arman Afshar
    •  & Julia R. Greer
  • Letter |

    Analysis of a dataset of high-sensitivity Tohoku–Hokkaido seismograph records shows that pairs of subduction-type earthquakes of different sizes have very similar initial characteristics, implying that the final size of an earthquake cannot be reliably predicted from these.

    • Satoshi Ide
  • Letter |

    The dynamics of interactions between hate-orientated networks on different online platforms is characterized, and a mathematical model predicts that policing on one online platform can make matters worse and generate ‘darker’ parts of the Internet.

    • N. F. Johnson
    • , R. Leahy
    •  & S. Wuchty
  • Letter |

    Analyses of the output produced by large versus small teams of researchers and innovators demonstrate that their work differs systematically in the extent to which it disrupts or develops existing science and technology.

    • Lingfei Wu
    • , Dashun Wang
    •  & James A. Evans
  • Letter |

    The thermal vibrations of a carbon nanotube are directly measured in real time with high displacement sensitivity and fine time resolution, revealing dynamics undetected by previous time-averaged measurements.

    • Arthur W. Barnard
    • , Mian Zhang
    •  & Paul L. McEuen
  • Letter |

    A modelling framework is presented to determine the optimal layout and physical properties of networks in which the nodes and links have physical sizes and intersections between components is prohibited.

    • Nima Dehmamy
    • , Soodabeh Milanlouei
    •  & Albert-László Barabási
  • Letter |

    A fundamental electronic noise—beyond electronic thermal noise and voltage-activated shot noise—that is generated by temperature differences across nanoscale conductors is demonstrated, with possible implications for thermometry and electronics.

    • Ofir Shein Lumbroso
    • , Lena Simine
    •  & Oren Tal
  • Letter |

    A lithographic patterning and release method is used to create a dense, fluctuating, Brownian system of mobile colloidal kite- and dart-shaped Penrose tiles over large areas that retains quasi-crystalline order.

    • Po-Yuan Wang
    •  & Thomas G. Mason
  • Letter |

    The domain-wall structure and dynamics are found to enhance, rather than inhibit, the high-frequency performance of an intrinsically tunable material, obtaining ultralow loss and exceptional frequency selectivity.

    • Zongquan Gu
    • , Shishir Pandya
    •  & Jonathan E. Spanier
  • Letter |

    The career trajectories of around 30,000 artists, film directors and scientists show that individuals in each domain have ‘hot streaks’ during which their works have increased impact, despite showing no increase in productivity.

    • Lu Liu
    • , Yang Wang
    •  & Dashun Wang
  • Letter |

    Freezing on a spherical surface is shown to proceed by the sequestration of defects into 12 icosahedrally coordinated ‘seas’ that enable the formation of a crystalline ‘continent’ with long-range orientational order.

    • Rodrigo E. Guerra
    • , Colm P. Kelleher
    •  & Paul M. Chaikin
  • Letter |

    Satellite data and modelling reveal that tropical forest fragments have similar size distributions across continents, and that forest fragmentation is close to a critical point, beyond which fragment numbers will strongly increase.

    • Franziska Taubert
    • , Rico Fischer
    •  & Andreas Huth
  • Letter |

    The relaxation dynamics of granular materials is more like that of complex fluids than that of thermal glass-forming systems, owing to the absence of the ‘cage effect’.

    • Binquan Kou
    • , Yixin Cao
    •  & Yujie Wang
  • Letter |

    A relaxation oscillator incorporating nanoscale niobium dioxide memristors that exhibit both a current- and a temperature-controlled negative differential resistance produces chaotic dynamics that aid biomimetic computing.

    • Suhas Kumar
    • , John Paul Strachan
    •  & R. Stanley Williams
  • Article |

    A mesoscopic cellular automaton arising from a microscopic reaction–diffusion system as a function of skin thickness is observed in ocellated lizards, showing that cellular automata are not merely abstract computational systems, but can directly correspond to processes generated by biological evolution.

    • Liana Manukyan
    • , Sophie A. Montandon
    •  & Michel C. Milinkovitch
  • Letter |

    The gradual development of a turbulent cascade in a weakly interacting homogeneous Bose gas is observed on application of a periodic driving force.

    • Nir Navon
    • , Alexander L. Gaunt
    •  & Zoran Hadzibabic
  • Letter |

    Lattices of cubic building blocks that deform anisotropically and that are designed to fit together like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle are 3D printed to create aperiodic, frustration-free, mechanical metamaterials; these metamaterials act as programmable shape-shifters and are able to perform pattern analysis.

    • Corentin Coulais
    • , Eial Teomy
    •  & Martin van Hecke
  • Letter |

    Ablation cooling is demonstrated as an effective means of removing material using successive bursts of laser pulses with short intraburst delay times; the technique allows the overall pulse energy to be decreased, overcoming negative thermal effects during the ablation process.

    • Can Kerse
    • , Hamit Kalaycıoğlu
    •  & Fatih Ömer Ilday
  • Letter |

    An analytical method of determining the mean first-passage time (the time taken by a random walker in confinement to reach a target point) is presented for a Gaussian non-Markovian random walker, thus revealing the importance of memory effects in first-passage statistics.

    • T. Guérin
    • , N. Levernier
    •  & R. Voituriez