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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 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. 

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.

Smooth or grainy?

A paper by Stefano Liberati from SISSA has been selected as one of the 2013 Highlight papers (the best papers of the year) of the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity. The paper is a systematic review of the methods devised by scientists since the 90s to test Einstein's laws of Special Relativity, up to the highest observable energies. These types of tests are important: deviations from Special Relativity could in fact indicate that space-time is not continuous but grainy. 

Emotions in Parkinson’s disease

A study conducted with the collaboration of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste investigates the origins of the difficulty recognizing certain emotions that affects patients with Parkinson's disease. Is this impairment caused by the disease itself or is it in part the consequence of a widely used treatment (deep brain stimulation)?

3D printing and “mechatronics” at SISSA

The arrival of a new 3D printer marks the start of a "mechatronic" age at SISSA. The new laboratory will enable SISSA investigators to be increasingly self-sufficient in designing and constructing the experimental setups and machinery needed for their studies.

Thanks to sophisticated equipment, including a new-generation 3D printer, and to the laboratory's expertise, scientists will no longer have to adapt their research to the constraints of existing technology but will be able to work more creatively, developing technology that fits the needs of scientific investigation.

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.

A look at the infinitely small

Stefan Hell

December 19, 2013 - 11 am

SISSA, Main Lecture Hall

Via Bonomea, 265 - Trieste

Until a short time ago scientists thought it was impossible to observe objects smaller than 200 nanometres under an optical microscope. Stefan Hell, a physicist of the Max Plank Institute, found a way to overcome this limit, inventing a method to observe biological tissues down to the molecular scale. The physicist talked about his research at a public conference at SISSA. 

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

Tidy knots are faster

The key pathway by which viruses "attack" consists in releasing viral DNA into the infected cell, taking over the host cell's transcription mechanisms and using them to reproduce itself.

In order to fight or exploit to our benefit the action of viruses, scientists are trying to understand this process in detail. A group of researchers – one of whom from SISSA – has studied the timescale of DNA "ejection" (how long it takes and what is the precise sequence of events), and found that it depends on the degree and manner of entanglement of the double strand of DNA inside the virus.

Shortlisted for the Barilla award

Helping people waste less food: this is the aim of the project of three former students of the SISSA Master's in Complex Actions, among the ten finalists for the YES 2013 award offered by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition.

The project, started while attending the Master's course in 2012, proposes a new way of recording and reducing the amount of food that families waste, and is especially aimed at young people (with the collaboration of schools).

Farewell to the father of Trieste City of Science

Paolo Budinich, founder of SISSA and creator of the "Trieste System", which made the city a centre of excellence in the international science scene as well as an important beacon for science education in developing countries, died on November 14, 2013. SISSA, the International School for Advanced Studies pays tribute to this great man, who will also be celebrated on the occasion of the Welcome Day, the annual public event to welcome new students, which will be held on November 20.

SISSA Welcome Day: focussing on students

November 20th 2013 

From 9.30 AM onwards

SISSA, Main Lecture Hall

Once again this year, Sissa hosted the traditional Welcome Day to welcome new students and publicly present its activities. The event provided an opportunity to make an assessment of the past year's work, to award a number of students and staff members for their achievements and to introduce the latest projects, like this year's Sissa Carpooling.