We learn how our world works by observing the frequency of events: if (almost) every time I press a button a light comes on, by repeating the same experience over and over again I will learn that to turn on the light I need to press that button. In addition to this sort of “statistical evaluation” of observed events, there is another very powerful instrument that the brain uses for learning and that sometimes clashes with the former: communication.
The hope is to be able, one day, to fight the pathogenic action of the amyloid-beta protein, whose build-up is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In the meantime, scientists (including a group from the International School for Advanced Studies, SISSA, in Trieste) have synthesised the knowledge acquired about this protein over the last few decades in a review paper that is destined to become a milestone for future research.
Guido Martinelli, Director of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste, has been appointed to the Scientific Policy Committee of CERN in Geneva, a prestigious appointment given solely on the basis of scientific competence. The appointment of the School’s Director confirms once again the high international standing of SISSA’s scientific personnel.
SISSA has received European Community funding equivalent to 18 million hours of supercomputing, corresponding to almost half the hours that the SISSA supercomputer, inaugurated last September, can provide in a whole year. The grant was awarded thanks to a research project in particle physics. SISSA is placing high stakes on high performance computing, as also confirmed by the second edition of the Master in High Performance Computing (MHPC) which has just opened enrolments.
Trefoil, Savoy, or simple … how do you fashion a “molecular” knot that has one of these shapes? Or better still, what are the most suitable “building blocks” for enabling the knot to assemble itself? A team of scientists coordinated by the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste has studied and catalogued the shapes that molecular building blocks should have so as to be able to assemble spontaneously into knots having specific forms, each with a possible utility in nanotechnology. The study has been published in Nature Communications.
Wednesday February 25th the elections of the new Director of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste were held on the School premises. Stefano Ruffo, professor of Structure of Matter at the University of Florence will be replacing Guido Martinelli, who has led the School for the past five years, and will take up office at SISSA on November 1st 2015.
Corannulene is a carbon molecule with a unique shape (similar to the better known fullerene) and promising properties. A team of scientists from SISSA and the University of Zurich carried out computer simulations of the molecule’s properties and discovered that it might help overcome the difficulties building molecular circuits (i.e., of the size of molecules). The study has just been published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.
The latest data release from the ESA satellite Planck consortium – just published in Astronomy and Astrophysics – reveals a surprise: star formation in the Universe may be more recent than previously indicated by the analysis of Planck’s predecessor, the NASA WMAP satellite. The observation was made possible by the new maps of Planck’s low-frequency instrument (LFI), produced by the Trieste Data Processing Centre run by INAF-OATS in collaboration with the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) and the LFI Consortium.
Human beings are born with a visual system already predisposed to see (and mentally representing) objects as discrete perceptual units. Movement is an important visual feature, but how early in a child’s development is it represented independently from the object itself? And what function does this skill serve in the development of cognitive abilities? Research conducted with the collaboration of SISSA, and published in Cognition, shows that this skill develops very early in infancy. Not only: its presence in mice suggests a genetic basis for it.
Based on the latest evidence and theories our galaxy could be a huge wormhole (or space-time tunnel, have you seen “Interstellar?”) and, if that were true, it would be “stable and navigable”. This is the hypothesis put forward in a study published in Annals of Physics and conducted with the participation of SISSA in Trieste. The paper, the result of a collaboration between Indian, Italian and North American researchers, prompts scientists to re-think dark matter more accurately.