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Empathy and moral choices

Empathy and emotional awareness do not affect our moral decisions. This is suggested by a new study published on Social Neuroscience and led by SISSA neuroscientist Marilena Aiello. Our choices do not depend on our empathy. The difference, instead, lies in our emotional reactions, more pronounced in more empathic people. In particular if we opt for uncomfortable decisions for a greater good.

Student day returns!

SISSA Student day is back! Wednesday 8 February will be totally dedicated to youngsters, free to choose whether to visit labs, the exhibition about the story of the Universe located in SISSA 130 metre corridor or attend interactive lessons and seminars. In an informal and pleasant context, curiosity will be the students’ only guide when they explore the 40 planned activities on offer. More than 500 students from high school - coming from Friuli Venezia Giulia and other Italian regions - will participate in the third edition of the event.

New states of matter

A laser pulse can drive materials towards new states where they acquire proprieties potentially useful for innovative microelectronics applications. This promising scientific area has been investigated by an international team headed by professor Michele Fabrizio from SISSA, Trieste, Italy, and professor Marino Marsi from Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France. The research has just been published in Nature Communications.

PhD honoris causa to Antonio Damasio: ceremony cancelled

Unfortunately, the PhD honoris causa award ceremony planned for Tuesday 31 January 2017 in SISSA, Trieste, has been cancelled. Antonio Damasio will not be able to attend because of a sudden indisposition.


Purtroppo la cerimonia di assegnazione del PhD honoris causa al neuroscienziato Antonio Damasio, in programma martedì 31 gennaio alle ore 10 alla SISSA, è stata cancellata. Lo studioso non potrà intervenire per un'improvvisa indisposizione.

The biological origin of the conscious mind

Consciousness is a grand symphonic piece that makes sense of the world. This analogy summarizes one of the highest achievements of Antonio Damasio, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, who will be awarded the PhD honoris causa by SISSA, Trieste, on 31 January 2017. In his Lectio magistralis, entitled “Body and mind: homeostasis, feeling and cultures”, the Portuguese-American scientist will present some of the groundbreaking results of his career.

Symmetries in physics

On Wednesday 18 January 2017, Elena Castellani, science philosopher and writer of the University of Florence, will give a seminar on the historical and philosophical aspects of symmetries in physics. The talk will present the historical roots of the concept of symmetry and, then, will provide an overview of the intellectual debate on  this topic. It will highlight how the issues discussed relate to more traditional themes in the philosophy of science, such as the status of the laws of nature and, more generally, the relationships between mathematics, physical theory and the world.

Famelab 2017

Famelab is back on stage! Famelab is the international competition that challenges young scientists with a flair for communication to tell in just 3 minutes the object of their study, or a fascinating scientific topic. SISSA is one of the partners of the Trieste edition, that will take place on Wednesday 22 February 2017 at the Miela theatre from 9 a.m.. Famelab Trieste is organized by Science Centre Immaginario Scientifico in collaboration with AREA Science Park, Comune di Trieste, Università degli Studi di Trieste e Università degli Studi di Udine.

The smell of terroir

Our nose abilities are greater than we expected. In fact, our olfactory system allows us to distinguish two wines differing for grape variety and, even, for production geographical area, a feature defined terroir by experts. This is the evidence emerged from a new research, published in the journal Food quality and preference, carried out at SISSA by Francesco Foroni, now at the Australian Catholic University, together with other scientists led by SISSA neuroscientist Raffaella Rumiati and the collaboration of the University of Padua.

Double effort against Rett’s syndrome

Although our genes normally come in pairs (one on each homologous chromosome), sometimes one of them is missing and the “surviving” one is unable to do all the work (it is referred as "haploinsufficient"): this situation can give rise to very serious diseases. So what can be done to fight these, often neurological, diseases? One possible strategy has been successfully adopted by a SISSA research team, in vitro and  in vivo: using leading-edge techniques to stimulate the surviving gene to also do the work of the missing gene.

Social choices: follow one’s nose or eyes?

Psychologists and neuroscientists have thoroughly investigated olfactory behaviours in newborns and adults, but relatively little is known about the characteristics of the sense of smell during infancy and adolescence. In a study carried out by SISSA in collaboration with the Please Touch Museum of Philadelphia (an interactive science museum for children), over 150 children aged 3 to 11 years old took part in a simple experiment allowing investigators to trace the curve of visuo-olfactory integration.

“Adotta una tigre triestina”

Il Comune di Trieste ha scelto un progetto di citizen science per il monitoraggio della diffusione della zanzara tigre come vincitore della borsa offerta per il secondo anno consecutivo agli studenti del Master in Comunicazione della Scienza “Franco Prattico“ (MCS) della SISSA. Il premio, di 3mila euro, che nasce da un’intesa fra il Comune di Trieste e la SISSA, viene assegnato alla migliore idea per un’attività di comunicazione della scienza nelle scuole triestine. La premiazione si svolgerà il 16 dicembre presso la Big Meeting Room (7° piano) della SISSA a partire dalle 10.30.

Young, thin and hyperactive galaxies

The more massive, or full of stars, a galaxy is, the faster the stars in it are formed. This seems to be the general rule, which is contradicted, however, by some abnormal cases, for example thin (not massive) galaxies that are hyperactive in their star formation. Until now the phenomenon had been explained by catastrophic external events like galaxies colliding and merging, but a new theory offers an alternative explanation, related to an in situ (internal) process of galaxy evolution.

Alessandro Laio elected president of CECAM

Atomistic and molecular simulations are one of the pillars of scientific research. By exploiting  new algorithms and computational methods, computer simulations allow us to study the behavior of inorganic and living matter and stimulate progress in  experimental sciences. CECAM is a center of excellence in this area, which includes first-rate institutions across Europe. Alessandro Laio, professor at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste was elected President on 24 November during an official meeting held in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Un benvenuto ai cervelli da tutto il mondo

Il Welcome Day della Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) di Trieste, che quest’anno si è tenuto il 1 dicembre, è la giornata che ogni anno la Scuola dedica ad accogliere i nuovi studenti, quelli che si apprestano a iniziare qui il loro primo anno di dottorato. È anche un momento per riflettere sul ruolo di questa Scuola, che porta l’aggettivo “Internazionale” nel suo stesso nome.

Seminars on History of Science at SISSA

Starting on November 23 at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, there will be a series of monthly meetings dedicated to the history of science. Big names from Italy and abroad will take turns telling the story until next May. The first talk will be held by Malcolm Longair, renowned Theoretical Physicist and former Director of Cavendish Laboratory, a "sacred" place in the history of modern physics. Longair’s talk dedicated to James Clerk Maxwell,  founder of the Theory of Electromagnetism, will be held onWednesday, November 23, at 3:00pm.