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Superslippery islands (but then they get stuck)

It’s possible to vary (even dramatically) the sliding properties of atoms on a surface by changing the size and “compression” of their aggregates: an experimental and theoretical study conducted with the collaboration of SISSA, the Istituto Officina dei Materiali of the CNR (Iom-Cnr-Democritos), ICTP in Trieste, the University of Padua, the University of Modena e Reggio Emilia, and the Istituto Nanoscienze of the CNR (Nano-Cnr) in Modena, has just been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

MCS sempre al top, anche per l’occupazione

In contemporanea con la pubblicazione dei dati sull’occupazione del Master in Comunicazione della Scienza “Franco Prattico” della SISSA di Trieste, si aprono le iscrizioni al nuovo anno accademico 2015-2016. In oltre vent’anni dalla fondazione, questa scuola continua a essere la migliore nel suo campo nel nostro paese, come testimonia l’output occupazionale, che vede oggi un’altissima percentuale di ex-studenti lavorare nel campo della comunicazione della scienza in Italia a all’estero.

Endless oscillations

According to classical physics, the universe tends to equilibrium but the same does not apply to quantum systems, which are destined to shift constantly between different configurations without ever finding peace. A theoretical study conducted by SISSA and the University of Oxford illustrates this dramatic difference and explains that in order to be described correctly one-dimensional quantum systems should be thought of as being defined on discrete points in space. 

Coderdojo alla SISSA

Aiutare i bambini a imparare l’informatica in modo divertente e con un approccio intuitivo, questo è quello che l’iniziativa CoderDojo fa in tutto il mondo, Trieste compresa. Il prossimo appuntamento nella nostra città è alla Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) di Trieste e vedrà partecipare un gruppo di bambini di quarta e quinta elementare (del ricreatorio comunale Fonda Savio di Opicina) che potranno realizzare un videogioco, un’animazione, un cartone animato con Scratch! il programma ideato al MIT di Boston.

MHPC 2015: applications now open

Students who have just completed the first edition of the Master in High Performance Computing (MHPC) held at SISSA/ICTP last year (and who still have to finish their dissertations) are already starting to work in the field. Now it is time to select candidates for the 2015-2016 academic year: the master’s course has in fact just opened applications, which should be made online at and will remain open until 6 July 2015.

What happens inside a membrane

Little is known about how the proteins forming ion channels – the “pores” on the cell membrane - change when they open and close, especially the portion that is “embedded” in the membrane. Scientists at SISSA have invented a method, based on the combined and innovative use of known techniques, which allowed them to observe in detail a specific membrane protein and its structural changes. The study has just been published in Nature Communications

Quantum “gruyères”

They are “strange” materials, insulators on the inside and conductors on the surface. They also have properties that make them excellent candidates for the development of spintronics (”spin-based electronics”) and more in general quantum computing. However, they are also elusive as their properties are extremely difficult to observe. Now a SISSA study, published in Physical Review Letters, proposes a new family of materials whose topological state can be directly observed experimentally, thus simplifying things for researchers.

Shedding light on rods

By using “unusual” optic fibres in a novel fashion, an international team of researchers led by the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, scrutinized the response to light of rods, the light-sensitive cells of the retina, and demonstrated that the intensity of response varies according to the region of the cell hit by the light.

Desirable defects

Introducing flaws into liquid crystals by inserting microspheres and then controlling them with electrical fields: that, in a nutshell, is the rationale behind a method that could be exploited for a new generation of advanced materials, potentially useful for optical technologies, electronic displays and e-readers.