Proton Pinball on the Catalyst

Thanks to a reaction that resembles a sort of proton pinball game, a thin layer of moisture on the surface of a catalysts can improve the efficiency of fuel cells, devices used to transform chemical energy (a fuel like hydrogen, for example) directly into electricity without releasing greenhouse gases in emissions. The study was coordinated by IOM CNR/ SISSA.

SISSA: solidarity to the Turkish Universities

The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA, Trieste), in agreement with the position undertaken by the European University Association, strongly and unconditionally condemns the measures adopted by the Turkish Government following the recent coup attempt.

Fast Track to a PhD

SISSA has just launched a new program for faster access to a PhD in condensed matter physics. The best students will be able to attend lectures at SISSA while still attending their last year of the Master course in Physics at the University of Trieste.

A “bridge" of carbon between nerve tissues

A complex study, lasting several years and involving work groups with specialties in various fields, has shown that a new material (a three-dimensional sponge made of carbon nanotubes) supports the growth of nerve fibers, bridging  segregated neural explants and providing a functional re-connection.

The large-scale stability of chromosomes

A new study led by the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste and published in PLOS Computational Biology adds detail to the theoretical models used in chromatin simulations and demonstrates that even when made up of a mixture of fibres with different properties chromatin does not alter its three-dimensional structure above a certain spatial resolution. This finding points to a need to improve on current techniques for experimental observation, which are characterized by a resolution that is still too low.

Living, transformed… simply food

Despite the central role of food in our lives, research has done little to discover how food concepts are organized in our brain. A review carried out at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste sorts out the knowledge gained so far, relating it to the current theories of semantic categorization. This in-depth analysis provides a useful conceptual framework for future research and for putting the different theories to the test. The paper has just been published in Psychonomic Bulletin Review.

Oxytocin in the recognition of emotions

Studies have demonstrated that oxytocin (which acts as an hormone and also as a neurotransmitter in the brain) plays a role in facilitating the perception of emotions in other people’s facial expressions. An international study conducted by Sebastian Korb (researcher in the SISSA’s Neurosciences area) and colleagues has tested the idea that this phenomenon is related to facial mimicry. According to embodied cognition theory, in fact, the recognition of others’ emotions is facilitated by their imitation and reproduction with our own face.

Elliptical galaxies not formed by merging

Using an “intuitive” approach, a SISSA study confirms a recent hypothesis on the formation of galaxies, according to which the larger elliptical galaxies formed in very ancient times through a process of local (in situ) star formation. This contradicts the current paradigm that they formed through the merging  of spiral galaxies, a view which, despite being generally accepted by most of the scientific community, has been a source of theoretical inconsistencies.


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