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We employ a field-theoretical variational approach to study the behavior of ionic solutions in the grand canonical ensemble. To describe properly the hardcore interactions between ions, we use a cutoff in Fourier space for the electrostatic contribution of the grand potential and the Carnahan-Starling equation of state with a modified chemical potential for the pressure one. We first calibrate our method by comparing its predictions at room temperature with Monte Carlo results for excess chemical potential and energy. We then validate our approach in the bulk phase by describing the classical “ionic liquid-vapor” phase transition induced by ionic correlations at low temperature, before applying it to electrolytes at room temperature confined to nanopores embedded in a low dielectric medium and coupled to an external reservoir of ions. The ionic concentration in the nanopore is then correctly described from very low bulk concentrations, where dielectric exclusion shifts the transition up to room temperature for sufficiently tight nanopores, to high concentrations where hardcore interactions dominate which, as expected, modify only slightly this ionic “capillary evaporation.”

Being capable of characterizing DNA local bending is essential to understand thoroughly many biological processes because they involve a local bending of the double helix axis, either intrinsic to the sequence or induced by the binding of proteins. Developing a method to measure DNA bend angles that does not perturb the conformation of the DNA itself or the DNA-protein complex is a challenging task. Here, we propose a joint theory-experiment high throughput approach to rigorously measure such bend angles using the Tethered Particle Motion (TPM) technique. By carefully modeling the TPM geometry, we propose a simple formula based on a kinked Worm-Like Chain model to extract the bend angle from TPM measurements. Using constructs made of 575 base-pair DNAs with in-phase assemblies of 1 to 7 6A-tracts, we find that the sequence CA6CGG induces a bend angle of 19 [4] {\deg}. Our method is successfully compared to more theoretically complex or experimentally invasive ones such as cyclization, NMR, FRET or AFM. We further apply our procedure to TPM measurements from the literature and demonstrate that the angles of bends induced by proteins, such as Integration Host Factor (IHF) can be reliably evaluated as well.

The double stranded DNA molecule undergoes drastic structural changes during biological processes such as transcription during which it opens locally under the action of RNA polymerases. Local spontaneous denaturation could contribute to this mechanism by promoting it. Supporting this idea, different biophysical studies have found an unexpected increase in the flexibility of DNA molecules with various sequences as a function of the temperature, which would be consistent with the formation of a growing number of locally denatured sequences. Here, we take advantage of our capacity to detect subtle changes occurring on DNA by using high throughput tethered particle motion to question the existence of bubbles in double stranded DNA under physiological salt conditions through their conformational impact on DNA molecules ranging from several hundreds to thousands of base pairs. Our results strikingly differ from previously published ones, as we do not detect any unexpected change in DNA flexibility below melting temperature. Instead, we measure a bending modulus that remains stable with temperature as expected for intact double stranded DNA.

We study the Jeans instability of an infinite homogeneous dissipative self-gravitating Bose–Einstein condensate described by generalized Gross–Pitaevskii–Poisson equations [Chavanis, P.H. Eur. Phys. J. Plus 2017, 132, 248]. This problem has applications in relation to the formation of dark matter halos in cosmology. We consider the case of a static and an expanding universe. We take into account an arbitrary form of repulsive or attractive self-interaction between the bosons (an attractive self-interaction being particularly relevant for the axion). We consider both gravitational and hydrodynamical (tachyonic) instabilities and determine the maximum growth rate of the instability and the corresponding wave number. We study how they depend on the scattering length of the bosons (or more generally on the squared speed of sound) and on the friction coefficient. Previously obtained results (notably in the dissipationless case) are recovered in particular limits of our study.

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A major problem that resulted from the massive use of social media networks is the diffusion of incorrect information. However, very few studies have investigated the impact of incorrect information on individual and collective decisions. We performed experiments in which participants had to estimate a series of quantities before and after receiving social information. Unbeknownst to them, we controlled the degree of inaccuracy of the social information through "virtual influencers", who provided some incorrect information. We find that a large proportion of individuals only partially follow the social information, thus resisting incorrect information. Moreover, we find that incorrect social information can help a group perform better when it overestimates the true value, by partly compensating a human underestimation bias. Overall, our results suggest that incorrect information does not necessarily impair the collective wisdom of groups, and can even be used to dampen the negative effects of known cognitive biases.

A discrete self-gravitating quasi-Keplerian razor-thin axisymmetric stellar disc orbiting a massive black hole sees its orbital structure diffuse on secular timescales as a result of a self-induced resonant relaxation. In the absence of collective effects, such a process is described by the recently derived inhomogeneous multi-mass degenerate Landau equation. Relying on Gauss’ method, we computed the associated drift and diffusion coefficients to characterise the properties of the resonant relaxation of razor-thin discs. For a disc-like configuration in our Galactic centre, we showed how this secular diffusion induces an adiabatic distortion of orbits and estimate the typical timescale of resonant relaxation. When considering a disc composed of multiple masses similarly distributed, we have illustrated how the population of lighter stars will gain eccentricity, driving it closer to the central black hole, provided the distribution function increases with angular momentum. The kinetic equation recovers as well the quenching of the resonant diffusion of a test star in the vicinity of the black hole (the “Schwarzschild barrier”) as a result of the divergence of the relativistic precessions. The dual stochastic Langevin formulation yields consistent results and offers a versatile framework in which to incorporate other stochastic processes.

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We study spectral gaps of the one-dimensional totally asymmetric simple exclusion process (TASEP) with open boundaries in the maximal current phase. Earlier results for the model with periodic boundaries suggest that the gaps contributing to the universal KPZ regime may be understood as points on an infinite genus Riemann surface built from a parametric representation of the cumulant generating function of the current. We perform explicit analytic continuations from the known large deviations of the current for open TASEP, and confirm the results for the gaps by an exact Bethe ansatz calculation, with additional checks using high precision extrapolation numerics.

Social media filters combined with recommender systems can lead to the emergence of filter bubbles and polarized groups. In addition, segregation processes of human groups in certain social contexts have been shown to share some similarities with phase separation phenomena in physics. Here, we study the impact of information filtering on collective segregation behavior. We report a series of experiments where groups of 22 subjects have to perform a collective segregation task that mimics the tendency of individuals to bond with other similar individuals. More precisely, the participants are each assigned a color (red or blue) unknown to them, and have to regroup with other subjects sharing the same color. To assist them, they are equipped with an artificial sensory device capable of detecting the majority color in their ``environment'' (defined as their k nearest neighbors, unbeknownst to them), for which we control the perception range, k=1,3,5,7,9,11,13. We study the separation dynamics (emergence of unicolor groups) and the properties of the final state, and show that the value of k controls the quality of the segregation, although the subjects are totally unaware of the precise definition of the ``environment''. We also find that there is a perception range k=7 above which the ability of the group to segregate does not improve. We introduce a model that precisely describes the random motion of a group of pedestrians in a confined space, and which faithfully reproduces and allows to interpret the results of the segregation experiments. Finally, we discuss the strong and precise analogy between our experiment and the phase separation of two immiscible materials at very low temperature.

We examine the behavior of supercoiled DNA minicircles containing between 200 and 400 base-pairs, also named microDNA, in which supercoiling favors thermally assisted DNA denaturation bubbles of nanometer size and controls their lifetime. Mesoscopic modeling and accelerated dynamics simulations allow us to overcome the limitations of atomistic simulations encountered in such systems, and offer detailed insight into the thermodynamic and dynamical properties associated with the nucleation and closure mechanisms of long-lived thermally assisted denaturation bubbles which do not stem from bending-or torque-driven stress. Suitable tuning of the degree of supercoiling and size of specifically designed microDNA is observed to lead to the control of opening characteristic times in the millisecond range, and closure characteristic times ranging over well distinct timescales, from microseconds to several minutes. We discuss how our results can be seen as a dynamical bandwidth which might enhance selectivity for specific DNA binding proteins.

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We compute the quantum tunneling rate of dilute axion stars close to the maximum mass [P.H. Chavanis, Phys. Rev. D 84, 043531 (2011)PRVDAQ1550-799810.1103/PhysRevD.84.043531] using the theory of instantons. We confirm that the lifetime of metastable states is extremely long, scaling as tlife∼eNtD (except close to the critical point), where N is the number of axions in the system and tD is the dynamical time (N∼1057 and tD∼10 hrs for typical QCD axion stars; N∼1096 and tD∼100 Myrs for the quantum core of a dark matter halo made of ultralight axions). Therefore, metastable equilibrium states can be considered as stable equilibrium states in practice. We develop a finite size scaling theory close to the maximum mass and predict that the collapse time at criticality scales as tcoll∼N1/5tD instead of being infinite when fluctuations are neglected. The collapse time at criticality is smaller than the age of the universe for QCD axion stars and larger than the age of the universe for dark matter cores made of ultralight axions. We also consider the thermal tunneling rate and reach the same conclusions. We compare our results with similar results obtained for Bose-Einstein condensates in laboratory, globular clusters in astrophysics, and quantum field theory in the early Universe.

Scalar field theory Phase separation Polytrope Stability Perturbation theory Violent relaxation Random tilings 9530Sf DNA Critical phenomena 9536+x 9535+d Statistical and Nonlinear Physics TASEP 9880-k Computational modelling Generalized thermodynamics Transition vitreuse Persistence Théorème du viriel Entropy Marcheur aléatoire Scattering length Poisson equation Diffusion Structure Formation Wave function Statistical mechanics Interacting agents Energy high Random walker Gravitation self-force Physique statistique Denaturation Competition Metastable states Black hole Collapse Fokker-Planck Quantum mechanics Thermodynamics Dark matter Hydrodynamics Cosmology Gravitational collapse Atmosphere Game theory Nanofiltration Euler-Maclaurin Statistical Mechanics Brownian motion Potential quantum Quasicrystals Parametrization Keller-Segel Wisdom of crowds Self-organization Gravitation collapse Dark matter halo Self-gravitating systems Numerical calculations Mouvement brownien Bethe ansatz Temperature Einstein Nonrelativistic Turbulence Ions close to interfaces Quantum chromodynamics axion Evaporation Effondrement gravitationnel Fermi gas Membrane transport Phase transition Bose–Einstein condensates Catastrophe theory Axion Chemotaxie Random process 9862Gq Long-range interactions Chemotaxis Field theory scalar Dissipation Collisionless stellar-systems Axion star General relativity Smoluchowski-Poisson Suppression Virial theorem Processus stochastique Cosmological model Glass transition Gravitation Rotation Scalar field Smoluchowski equation Condensation Bose-Einstein Dark matter condensation