Condensed Matter Physics

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Holger Stark

Holger Stark © SpringerProf Holger Stark (Institute of Theoretical Physics, TU Berlin) has broad research interests in soft matter and biological physics. He currently works on the theoretical modeling of active matter, microswimmers, and hydrodynamic problems related to inertial microfluidics and elastic turbulence of viscoelastic fluids. 

He is one of three Editors-in-Chief for European Physical Journal E - Soft Matter and Biological Physics. 

Q&A with Prof Holger Stark, Editor-in-Chief of EPJ E

1. EPJ E marks its 20th anniversary this year. How has the research landscape in soft matter and biological physics changed since the journal launched?

Over the last 20 years the topics have broadened beyond the traditional complex fluid/soft matter subjects also crossing borders to neighbouring disciplines. In all experimental, theoretical, and computational studies more emphasis is now placed on non-equilibrium physics and thermodynamics, and new fields such as active matter have been established, providing excellent research opportunities which attract in particular young researchers.

In line with the widened scope of EPJ E more emphasis is put now on flowing matter and hydrodynamic studies; a traditional field which has seen a revival due to the interdisciplinary approach of research on complex fluids. Living matter or biophysics has evolved into a mature interdisciplinary field, where questions, teaching, congresses, vocabulary and techniques common to soft and living matter are now widespread. Journals like EPJ E played a useful role in this maturation.

2. Almost 3000 papers have appeared in EPJ E since 2000.  What have been some of the highlights?

 It is not easy to pick out individual papers, but the 2004 article “On dense granular flows” by the GDR MiDi research group deserves a special mention for its longevity as a standard reference in the field. 

The following articles have been selected to illustrate the breadth and depth of EPJ E’s coverage [note: these are all freely available until October 15th].

EPJ E has a strong tradition in Topical Reviews and Colloquia, typically invited by an Editor to provide a solid overview of an emerging field or the impact of new experimental or theoretical techniques.  On a similar note, the Tips and Tricks category introduced in 2015 offers the reader insights into novel experimental, computational or theoretical approaches.


3. What is coming up in EPJ E over the next year?

We look forward to stimulating research articles in the next years. We have also initiated topical issues at the forefront of current soft and living matter research, where we expect exciting contributions. These include:

Physics of phase separation in cell biophysics: From non-equilibrium droplets to reaction-diffusion systems
Guest Editors: David Zwicker, Frank Jülicher, Christoph A. Weber

Advances in Computational Methods for Biological Physics
Guest Editors: Alexander Fletcher, Rastko Sknepnek, Moumita Das, Karsten Kruse

Disordered, non-equilibrium systems: From supercooled liquids to amorphous solids
Guest Editors: Marco Baity Jesi, Yuliang Jin, Elijah Flenner

Physics and Geometry of Flexible Plates and Shells 

Guest Editors: Hans Herrmann, Benoit Roman, Roman Vetter

All open Calls for Papers can be found here.  We will continue to secure further topical issues to provide our readers access to the most timely research topics.

EPJ E has long been a supporter of conferences and workshops in the soft matter field, and has strong links with the tri-annual Liquid Matter Conferences (LMC) and many smaller national physical society meetings.  As many such conferences are now moving to a virtual setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to support them through sponsorship and poster prizes.      

It is also worth mentioning the EPJ E-Pierre Gilles De Gennes lecture prize, awarded to outstanding scientists for their contribution to soft matter research. Previous recipients of this prize are Sam Safran, Mike Cates, Julia Yeomans, Ludwik Leibler, Regine von Klitzing and Ramin Golestanian.

4. What would you say to an author who has not yet published in EPJ E?

When EPJ E was founded in 2000 by Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, the Nobel Prize winner from 1991, it was very much inspired by the way he looked at soft matter. EPJ E aims to publish works from a broad variety of soft systems that always have a physical question in mind and provide an understanding within physics concepts. However, concerning the choice of systems EPJ E is very interdisciplinary, reaching out to biology and applied sciences. So, EPJ E is a journal from physicists for physicists who also are interested in systems beyond the traditional physics borders. It includes reports of experimental, computational and theoretical studies and appeals to the broad interdisciplinary communities including physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and materials science.

As an author you take advantage of our promotional strategies for your article. Each article is presented by a graphical abstract on the EPJ Portal, and selected papers are further advertised through the EPJ E Highlights and associated press releases.  All Topical Issue papers are made freely available for two months following publication, and these are promoted via the EPJ and Springer social media channels.

Open Access is becoming an increasingly important part of the discussion, improving visibility and impact of each article. Springer is establishing Read and Publish deals with several countries, enabling many more authors to publish Open Access in EPJ E with no direct cost.

Finally, our Editorial Board consists of experienced and respected international colleagues; together with the high quality of the referees they select, your manuscript is guaranteed a fair, fast, and constructive refereeing process.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Holger Stark, TU Berlin.

On behalf of the Editors-in-Chief of EPJ E