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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)?

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

The brain’s RAM

Thousands of times a day, the brain stores sensory information for very short periods of time in a working memory, to be able to use it later. A research study carried out with the collaboration of SISSA has shown, for the first time, that this function also exists in the brain of rodents, a finding that sheds light on the evolutionary origins of this cognitive mechanism.

Molecules as circuits

The progressive miniaturization of electronic devices requires the creation of increasingly small circuits. With traditional technology, this miniaturization is hampered by the limits imposed by physics, but some have thought of using molecules as circuits.

If molecules are to be able to do this efficiently, they need to improve their poor conduction ability. In a study published in PNAS, a team of researchers featuring Ryan Requist, Erio Tosatti and Michele Fabrizio of SISSA shows how the Kondo effect can improve the conductivity of some magnetic molecules.

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.

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