Introducing PRL HIGHLIGHTS
Beginning in this issue, In forthcoming issues, THE BIOLOGICAL PHYSICIST will be drawing the attention of readers to papers of interest that have recently been published in Physical Review Letters, in addition to those published in Physical Review E. Both journals welcome the submission of articles in the field of biological physics. In keeping with the general policy of Physical Review, papers should report new results and should include a substantial physics component. Many published articles report advances in the fundamental physical understanding of a biological system, gained through both experimental and theoretical study. Others announce the discovery of new physical phenomena in biological systems or biological materials. Papers describing advances in physical instrumentation applied to biological systems, or the development of better theoretical and experimental methods for the physical analysis of biological data, are also appropriate for the journals.
A glance at the contents of recent issues (abstracts are freely available online at http://publish.aps.org) provides an idea of the range of subjects published in Physical Review. Topics have included physical studies of individual biomolecules and their interactions, supramolecular assemblies such as lipid bilayers and cytoskeletal structures, and the morphogenesis of aggregates of cells. Publications have also addressed the logic of signal transduction pathways and gene regulation networks, and the processing of information on a larger scale by assemblies of
neurons. Advances in experimental methods have included X-ray imaging of biological thin films, and new ways to trap biological molecules using optical and electrophoretic techniques.
Collaborative projects between biological and physical scientists are increasingly common. These often result in a range of publications with different emphasis - some involving basic physics, others reporting applications to a sub- field of biology. Physical Review E aims to provide a venue for the physics component. Physical Review Letters publishes papers that keep broadly interested physicists informed about vital current research, so submissions must satisfy the additional criteria of outstanding importance and wide appeal. Because Physical Review Letters has a diverse readership, it is especially important that the introductory paragraphs outline the primary achievements of the research, in clear language that avoids jargon and specialized terms. The communication of technical results to people outside the field requires thought, and, as was emphasized in a recent editorial, http://prl.aps.org/edannounce/PRLv95i17.html, authors should take care over writing the introduction.
While the overall number of submissions to Physical Review continues to grow apace, the expansion of biological physics outstrips the general trend. At current rates of growth, the number of submissions is doubling in a five- year period. This reflects the healthy dynamism of the field. Many young physicists