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Eleven maps for eleven rooms

The hippocampus – a structure in the brain – contains the representation of the environment we move in. But how many maps is it able to store without confusing one place with another? Quite a few, more than had been observed until now. That is the main finding of a study just published in PNAS and carried out by a research team led by May-Britt and Edvard Moser, scientists who were recently awarded the Nobel Prize. SISSA was also involved in the study.

SISSA per i piccoli

In occasione della settimana dei diritti dell’infanzia, nello spirito dell’iniziativa “Nati per leggere”, due ricercatori e il Direttore della SISSA leggeranno delle fiabe ai bambini dell’asilo nido della Scuola. Un’occasione riunire le persone che lavorano alla SISSA con i loro bambini in un evento festoso e per ribadire l’importanza della lettura fin dalla più tenera età.

The body’s emotions

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that causes numerous symptoms. Among them are also several difficulties affecting the emotional domain and a deficit in perceiving other people’s emotions based on their facial expressions. Now a new study carried out with the collaboration of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste shows that also the ability to recognize emotions by reading body posture is impaired in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Actions versus objects

According to many scientists the fact that ALS patients experience (in addition to severe motor deficits) greater linguistic difficulty with verbs denoting action compared to nouns denoting objects depends on their motor deficit. The idea is that the motor system plays a role in the semantic encoding of these words. A new study conducted with the participation of SISSA has tested this hypothesis and suggests a major role for the “executive function”.

Il cuore della scienza

La senatrice a vita e scienziata Elena Cattaneo organizza una giornata per raccontare le storie positive degli scienziati rientrati nel nostro Paese. Fra gli interventi previsti presso il palazzo Giustiniani il 10 novembre a Roma c’è quello di Stefano Gustincich, professore della SISSA. L’evento è promosso dalla Armenise Harvard Foundation, l’organizzazione impegnata nel sostenere la ricerca di promettenti giovani scienziati che decidono di tornare o venire in Italia, contribuendo alla creazione di nuove aree di ricerca nel settore della biomedicina nel nostro Paese.

EU-Russia: “Year of Science”

Russian and European scientists will gather in Trieste for a conference that will address ways to strengthen the “strategic partnership” between the European Union and Russia in the fields of basic and applied science and technological transfer, acknowledged at all levels as being the “prime driver” of economic and social development. The event is part of “2014, Year of Science” announced during the 2012 EU-Russia summit, and provides an forum for exchange that will lead to major research projects.

The geometry of RNA

To understand the function of an RNA molecule, similar to the better-known DNA and vital for cell metabolism, we need to know its three-dimensional structure. Unfortunately, establishing the shape of an RNA strand is anything but easy and often requires a combination of experimental techniques and computer-based simulations. Many computing methods are used but these are often complex and slow, and vary depending on the problem at hand.

Avicenna’s lesson

6 November, 6.00 pm

Caffè Tommaseo

Piazza Nicolò Tommaseo, 4c, Trieste

“Possible Worlds and Will in Avicenna” is the title of the first meeting of the cycle “Science, literature and civic engagement” organized by the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of SISSA. Once a month, writers, scientists and scholars will meet the public to discuss different themes. The first appointment is with Sari Nusseibeh, professor of philosophy at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, who will talk about Avicenna, Persian scientist and among the greatest thinkers of all times.

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