For a while now, neuroscientists have been wondering whether the distortions in the way we perceive foreign languages related to our knowledge of our mother tongue also characterize how we perceive non-linguistic sounds (e.g., music). A new SISSA study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, shows that, despite many clues seemingly pointing in that direction, speakers of languages with a different rhythm do not differ in their perception of non-linguistic sound sequences.
News & Events
When it comes to European Research Council (ERC) funding, SISSA has every reason to be proud, especially in recent months. Of the 13 ERC consolidator grants announced in Brussels last Friday for Italy, one is already at the school and another will arrive shortly. Adding to this rich “bounty” is another ERC starting grant which was awarded to a SISSA instructor last November for a total of 15 projects approved since 2008, making SISSA one of the European schools with the highest number of grants in relation to the number of instructors.
The brain is divided into functional circuits, each specialized for specific tasks: perception, memory, problem solving… how do these circuits work as a team when required? Research suggests that the secret may lie in synchronization of the rhythms of electrical activity. A SISSA study shows that in rats engaged in a task requiring them to make decisions based on memory, sensory and memory regions synchronize at the theta rhythm, the same rhythm that defines the sweeping movement of their whiskers.
Lo Student Day 2016 ripete il successo dell’anno scorso: alla Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) di Trieste il 23 febbraio si attendono oltre 500 studenti (provenienti dal Friuli Venezia Giulia ma anche dal resto dell’Italia) del biennio finale delle superiori. Lo Student Day è la giornata in cui la SISSA si dedica tutta ai giovani che dovranno decidere il futuro dei loro studi, raccontando la scienza in un clima di “caos autorganizzato”.
The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste has won a considerable financial grant from the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant to study advanced reduced order modeling, an area of research that develops methods for simplifying and adapting supercomputing to handheld devices (such as smartphones, tablets, etc). The Principal Investigator (PI) of the project is SISSA Professor Gianluigi Rozza. This is the School’s fourteenth ERC.
We are born with a basic grasp of physics, just enough not to be surprised when we interact with objects. Scientists discovered this in the past two decades. What they did not know yet was that, as early as five months of age, this “naïve” physics also extends to liquids and materials that do not behave like solids (for example, sand), as demonstrated by a new study just published in Psychological Science.
Snake locomotion is a source of inspiration for technology: graceful, silent, adaptable and efficient, it can be implemented on devices designed for the most diverse applications, from space exploration to medicine. A study carried out by a SISSA research group, just published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A - Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, adds to this line of research and proposes a detailed mathematical account of one of the characteristic types of movement adopted by this animal.
On February 25 the local selection of FameLab will be back on stage in Trieste! The international competition challenges young scientists with the talent of communication to tell in just 3 minutes the object of his or her study, or a fascinating scientific topic. No slide shows, graphs, videos: only a fistful of words and a talent for communication are required, to spread to the public the charm and the importance of the scientific research, in a a way that is amusing and easy to grasp.
Over 160 registrants for HPC-TS, the meeting that from February 24 to 26 will bring to Trieste some of the world’s leading names in “supercomputing”, currently one of the most innovative fields in science. Key guest speaker will be Jack Dongarra (University of Tennessee), a world expert in high-performance computing (HPC). The event has been organized within the framework of the MHPC, the joint SISSA/ICTP master’s course in HPC.
We learn many things through imitation: how to walk, play an instument, sports, and even more. What are the processes in the brain responsible for imitation? For some years now, science has been examining the role of mirror neurons, but there is still much to understand. One study focusing on neurological patients showed that at least two components are involved in imitating gestures, each from a different hemisphere of the brain. The study, which SISSA participated in, was published in Neuropsychologia.
The polarization vector of cosmic background radiation could rotate during the course of its journey towards us, and if it did, it could also cause trouble for the Standard Model for electromagnetic interactions. To understand if this rotation is taking place, we need an “eye” that can see great distances, like POLARBEAR, an instrument located in Chile at the top of the Andes.
What is the mechanism of action of metal-based chemotherapy drugs (the most widely used for treating common cancers like testicular or ovarian cancer)? How can we improve their effect and reduce their toxicity? A new study combining experiments and theory has broadened our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of these active drugs to help experimentalists devising increasingly effective drugs with fewer side effects. The study, just published in the journal ChemMedChem, was conducted with the participation of International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste.
At times, to understand something well, it is useful to rebuild it from scratch. It happens with prions as well: in collaboration with the BESTA Institute in Milan, the Laboratory of Prion Biology at SISSA in Trieste assembled artificial prions, devising a method for synthesizing them in a series. Lab tests showed that synthetic prions act like their biological counterparts. Results will be published on December 31 in one of the most respected journals in the industry, Plos Pathogens.
The December issue of the journal Current Opinion in Neurobiology reviews current knowledge about brain plasticity, in its broadest sense, starting from the infinitely small (plasticity at the molecular level, in synapses) up to the macro level (the plasticity observable in human behaviour). Alessandro Treves (SISSA) and Thomas Mrsic-Flogel (University of Basel) have edited this issue involving some of the leading international experts in the field.
Catalysts play a major role in the field of technology applied to renewable energy. A new study, just published in Nature Materials, provides a detailed account of how to control the electron charge of nanoparticles of platinum, an important catalyst in fuel cells, to maximize the efficiency of the process. The study is the result of an intense international collaboration involving SISSA and CNR-IOM of Trieste, the University of Barcelona, ELETTRA Sincrotrone Trieste, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany and Univerzita Karlova of Prague.
9 dicembre 2015, 14.00
SISSA, Aula Magna “P. Budinich”
Il 9 dicembre alle 14.00, presso l’Aula Magna della SISSA, avranno luogo le premiazioni della seconda edizione del concorso fotografico “De Rerum Natura” promosso dal Laboratorio Interdisciplinare della SISSA. Nella stessa occasione ci sarà anche un intervento di Massimo Inguscio, direttore dell’Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM) di Torino, dal titolo Light, Atoms and Time. La partecipazione all’evento è gratuita e aperta a tutti. L’intervento di Inguscio si terrà in inglese.
Childhood and adolescence are ages of constant change and crucial experiences. At times the emotional weight can be difficult to manage and may lead to psychological issues in adulthood. Neurofeedback is a method that helps individuals to keep their brain activity (for example a response to an emotional event) under control. While routinely used on adults, a new study published in NeuroImage demonstrates that the technique shows promise for young people as well.
December 1, 2015, 9.30 am-12.15 am
SISSA, Main Lecture Hall
Every year, the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste welcomes new students. This year, along with introducing the Director, fellow students, and scientists, there will be several awards given (including the Bassoli Prize for Science Communication) and the lectio magistralis on chaos by Laure Saint-Raymond, a French mathematician.
Nelle prossime settimane si terrà un nuovo ciclo di appuntamenti organizzati dal Laboratorio Interdisciplinare della SISSA, in collaborazione con il Comune di Trieste Attraverso la fotografia, il giornalismo e i romanzi gialli, tre personaggi di spicco della cultura triestina (Ugo Borsatti, Roberto Curci e Veit Heinechen) racconteranno la storia della città dal loro speciale punto di vista. Tutti gli eventi sono gratuiti e aperti al pubblico.