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.
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.
Black holes are still very mysterious celestial bodies which, according to the majority of physicists, do not, however, escape the laws of thermodynamics. As a result, these physical systems possess an entropy though no real agreement has been reached about the microscopic origin of this propriety and how it should be calculated. A SISSA/Max Planck Institute (Potsdam) group has achieved important results in this calculation by applying a new formalism (Group Field Theory) of Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG), a very popular approach in the area of quantum gravity.
30 May 2016, 2.30 pm
SISSA, room 128
Michele Parrinello, a former SISSA professor, has remained a model for the school and a mentor for some of the scientists who work here. On May 30th, the physicist who was awarded the Dirac Medal, amongst others, will be at SISSA for a conference where he will explain his method for the simulation of “rare events”, a major challenge in the multifaceted world of computer simulations.
A protein of the ISWI family (Imitation Switch, or nucleosome remodelling motors) is endowed with a special property: despite having no organ of sense it is nonetheless able to assess the length of DNA strands. A study just published in the Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment and carried out by SISSA, the MAX Planck Institute and the NIH has discovered how it works.
Picking out single words in a flow of speech is no easy task and, according to linguists, to succeed in doing it the brain might use statistical methods. A group of SISSA scientists has applied a statistics-based method for word segmentation and measured its efficacy on natural language, in 9 different languages, to discover that linguistic rhythm plays an important role. The study has just been published in the Journal of Developmental Science.
Registration is officially open for the 2016/2017 edition of the SISSA/ICTP Master in High Performance Computing. Applications can be completed online until July 6, 2016 at http://mhpc.it/how-apply. Now in its third edition, this exclusive Master’s program selects 15 high-profile participants from a large pool of applicants. Experts from academia and leading international companies prepare students for the high-performance world of computing (HPC).
Come ogni anno si aprono le iscrizioni per le selezioni al Master in Comunicazione della Scienza “Franco Prattico” (MCS) della SISSA di Trieste, valide per l’accesso al biennio 2016-2018. La scuola si conferma la migliore in Italia in questo campo, oltre che quella di più lunga tradizione, con dati occupazionali sempre molto positivi e un’offerta formativa di massima qualità. Le iscrizioni alle selezioni per il biennio resteranno aperte fino al 27 settembre 2016, alle 12.00.
A team from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste has obtained very promising results by applying gene therapy to glioblastoma. Tests in vitro and in vivo on mice provided very clear-cut results, and modelling demonstrates that the treatment targets at least six different points of tumour metabolism. Gene therapy, a technique that selectively attacks a tumour, might provide hope in the fight against this type of deadly cancer, for which surgery is practically impossible and chemo- and radiotherapy are ineffective against very aggressive recurrences.
Botulin injections in the facial muscles, which relax expression lines and make one’s skin appear younger as a result of a mild paralysis, have another, not easily predictable effect: they undermine the ability to understand the facial expressions of other people. This consequence, as SISSA scientists explain in a new research study, depends on a temporary block of proprioceptive feedback, a process that helps us understand other people’s emotions by reproducing them on our own bodies.