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25 years of DNA on the computer

For about 20 years now, experimental research on nuclear DNA has been supplemented by research based on computer simulations aimed at reconstructing the structure and function of this molecule that is so essential to life as we know it.

A systematic review – carried out with the participation of SISSA in Trieste – provides a detailed summary of the majority of models developed to date. The review is mainly aimed at biologists, for whom it may become an important research tool.

A chance to attend the MCA

Last December 30 was the closing date for enrolments in the Master's in Complex Actions (MCA) of SISSA (the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste), but there's another opportunity for latecomers: classes will be open to a limited number of audit students who will be given the chance to enrol normally for the academic year 2013-2014. 

Easier said than done

"Moral" psychology has traditionally been studied by subjecting individuals to moral dilemmas, that is, hypothetical choices regarding typically dangerous scenarios, but it has rarely been validated "in the field". This limitation may have led to systematic bias in hypotheses regarding the cognitive bases of moral judgements.

A study relying on virtual reality has demonstrated that, in real situations, we might be far more "utilitarian" than believed so far.

A European grant to study vision

The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste has obtained a major grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to study the visual system. This is the eleventh ERC grant awarded to SISSA, which once again confirms its position among the Italian research centres that have won the largest number of these grants.

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The brain’s RAM

Thousands of times a day, the brain stores sensory information for very short periods of time in a working memory, to be able to use it later. A research study carried out with the collaboration of SISSA has shown, for the first time, that this function also exists in the brain of rodents, a finding that sheds light on the evolutionary origins of this cognitive mechanism.

Nanofriction on the tip of the microscope

A research paper published in the journal Nature Materials, the result of the collaboration between a group of theoretical physicists from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste and a group of experimental physicists from the University of Basel, reveals the secrets of the nanofriction produced when an atomic force microscope observes the surface of certain materials.

Viral puzzles

The genome of viruses is usually enclosed inside a shell called capsid. Capsids have unique mechanic properties: they have to be resistant and at the same time capable of dissolving in order to release the genome into the infected cell.

The scientists of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste have coordinated a study on the mechanic properties of viruses that have improved their understanding, so much that they were able to make conjectures on the behavior of still little-known viruses

Peter Higgs: a well deserved Nobel prize

The Nobel prize in the field of Physics was awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert, the physicists who theorized the existence of the well-known Boson, the particle whose field gives mass to some fundamental particles across the Universe. The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) at Trieste, who only a few weeks ago bestowed Higgs the PhD honoris causa in Theoretical Particle Physics, expresses great satisfaction for this important reward.

Learning about dark matter

The MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) on Iversity, the online platform offering free university courses, is available starting from 15th October. Among the teachers also Paolo Salucci, an astrophysicist of the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste.

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Viewpoints on the point

A point may sound like a trivial matter and yet it is a key concept in science and one that has engaged not only mathematicians – who have tried to define it since the early days of this science – but also philosophers, physicists, and theologians. Researchers from different disciplines met at SISSA to discuss this "elusive" topic.

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