Research

Parkinson’s and prion diseases: a link discovered

Parkinson’s disease and prion diseases are very different from each other as regards both origins and course.

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Exchanges of identity in deep space

Like in a nail-biting thriller full of escapes and subterfuge, photons from far-off light sources, such as blazars, could go up against a continuous exchange of identity in their journey through the Universe.

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How to move objects at the nanoscale

To move a nanoparticle on the surface of a graphene sheet, you won’t need a “nano-arm”: by applying a temperature difference at the ends of the membrane, the nanocluster laying on it will drift from the hot region to the cold one. In addition, contrary to the laws ruling the world at the macroscale, the force acting on the particle – the so-called thermophoretic force – should not decrease as the sheet length rises, sporting a so-called ballistic behavior.

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Shedding light on Galaxies’ rotation secrets

The dichotomy concerns the so-called angular momentum (per unit mass), that in physics is a measure of size and rotation velocity. Spiral galaxies are found to be strongly rotating, with an angular momentum higher by a factor of about 5 than ellipticals. What is the origin of such a difference? An international research team investigated the issue in a study just published in The Astrophysical Journal. The team was led by SISSA Ph.D.

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Laser Pulses Reveal Superconductors of the Future

Another step forward towards superconductivity at room temperature: an experiment at the cutting edge of condensed matter physics and materials science has revealed that the dream of more efficient energy usage can turn into reality. An international collaboration, led by the scientists of Italy’s International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Università Cattolica di Brescia and Politecnico di Milano used suitably tailored laser pulses to snap the electronic interactions in a compound containing copper, oxygen and bismuth.

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It's the thought that counts

A sports person who has accidentally caused serious injury to a rival. A distracted driver who has caused an accident. Or a colleague who has involuntarily made a very serious error. Even outside the court room we have all been in situations in which we have had to express judgements on specific events on the basis of the seriousness of the incident but also on the intentions of those who caused them.

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It is easier for a DNA knot…

Anyone who has been on a sailing boat knows that tying a knot is the best way to secure a rope to a hook and prevent its slippage. The same applies to sewing threads where knots are introduced to prevent them slipping through two pieces of fabric. How, then, can long DNA filaments, which have convoluted and highly knotted structure, manage to pass through the tiny pores of various biological systems?

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Investigating altruism through virtual reality

A computer-based environment developed with the aim to shed light on the origins of altruism: this is the innovative approach used by a research group at SISSA in collaboration with the University of Udine. This new study - recently published in the journal Neuropsychologia – immersed participants in a virtual environment that reproduced a building on fire which they had to evacuate in a hurry, deciding whether to save their lives or interrupt their escape and help rescue an injured person.

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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.

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