De Rerum Natura

Registrations for the “De Rerum Natura – Science in a click” photographic contest organised by SISSA Interdisciplinary Laboratory in partnership with Circolo Fotografico Triestino are now open. There are two themes for the third edition: “The Beauty of Nature and its Laws” and “The Soul of a City of Science: Trieste – Light and Vision”. Registration is free and open to all amateur photographers of any age or nationality. There are three prizes per category worth €500, €300 and €200 respectively and a total of six prizes.

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Natural vs transformed

«It can be considered an instance of ‘embodiment’ in which our brain interacts with our body». This is the comment made by Raffaella Rumiati, neuroscientist at SISSA in Trieste, on the results of research carried out by her group which reveals that the way we process different foods changes in accordance with our body mass index. With two behavioural and electroencephalographic experiments, the study demonstrated that people of normal weight tend to associate natural foods such as apples with their sensory characteristics such as sweetness or softness.

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Former SISSA student awarded by the Italian Astronomical Society

Claudia Mancuso, former SISSA PhD student in Astrophysics now at the Istituto di Radioastronomia of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Bologna, is one of the two winners of the XII edition of the “P. Tacchini” Prize for the best 2016 PhD thesis in Astronomy/Astrophysics.

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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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What happens when people hear voices that others don’t

People who hear voices — both with and without a diagnosed psychotic illness — are more sensitive than other subjects to a 125-year-old experiment designed to induce hallucinations. And the subjects’ ability to learn that these hallucinations were not real may help pinpoint those in need of psychiatric treatment, suggests a new Yale-led study published Aug. 11 in the journal Science. The research has been carried out by Philip Corlett and Al Powers, Yale University, and Chris Mathys, SISSA.

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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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People with autism are less surprised by the unexpected

Dr Rebecca Lawson and Professor Geraint Rees from UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, and Dr Christoph Mathys from SISSA found that adults with autism were less surprised by unexpected images in a simple learning task than adults without autism, and those who were the least surprised had the most pronounced symptoms. The results suggests that differences in how people with autism build visual expectations may link to social difficulties. The study shed new light on our understanding of how people with autism see the world differently.

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SISSA is one of the SOPHYA partners

SOPHYA (Seakeeping Of Planing Hull YAchts) is a research and development project in Maritime Technologies, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  The SOPHYA project has as a general purpose the study of the correlation between the sea-going performance of motor-powered pleasure craft and the state of the sea. The aim of of the project is the improvement of the energy performance of the boat and of the comfort on board. The SOPHYA project has been launched on April 10, 2017 and will last 21 months.

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Ex SISSA student awarded by European Physical Society

Her work tools are paper, pen and a whiteboard to use «when she needs to share ideas with others, discuss problems and look for solutions». Computers? «Yes, sometimes». Laura Foini fills everything with formulas and calculations – what is needed to study «systems out of equilibrium, my research sector, encompassed by the environment of statistical physics». It is a field in which this young researcher, born in 1984 in Brescia province, excels.

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