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Latest International School for Advanced Studies Stories

2014-04-09 16:06:13

Physicists play with the genetics of populations What happens when physicists play (using mathematical instruments) with the genetics of populations? They may discover unexpected connections between migration and biodiversity, for example, as recently done by a group of researchers from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste and the Polytechnic University in Turin in a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The effect of migration on...

Hydrogen Atoms
2014-03-26 03:00:52

International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) A simulation to observe how hydrogen behaves at very high pressures Some experiments are really difficult to perform in practice. To gain a detailed understanding of the behavior of molecular hydrogen (H2), for example, we would have to produce such high pressures as those occurring within the core of gaseous planets like Jupiter and Saturn or inside stars. If such conditions cannot be created, an alternative method is to simulate them on...

In Moral Behavior, 'Virtual' Reality Is Something Else Altogether
2014-01-16 10:06:27

International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) The brakes of your car fail suddenly and on your path are five people who will certainly be hit and killed. You can steer, but if you do another pedestrian will find himself on your course. Just one. What do you do: do you take action and kill one person or do you do nothing and cause five people to die? This is an example of a "moral dilemma", the type of problem cognitive psychologists use for studying the cerebral foundations of moral...

2014-01-03 15:36:17

A review of the computer simulations of nuclear DNA DNA carries out its activities "diluted" in the cell nucleus. In this state it synthesizes proteins and, even though it looks like a messy tangle of thread, in actual fact its structure is governed by precise rules that are important for it to carry out its functions. Biologists have studied DNA by observing it experimentally with a variety of techniques, which have only recently been supplemented by research in silico, that is to say,...

2013-12-02 21:28:26

A study investigates the role of the motor system in conceptualization Is it true, as some scientists believe, that to understand words like "spike" (in the volleyball sense) the brain has to "mentally" retrace the sequence of motor commands that accomplish the action? According to a study just published as a cover story in the December issue of Brain Research and conducted with the participation of scientists from SISSA, the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste, the...

Reading Into The Brain To Understand How Neurons Represent The World
2013-04-23 15:33:22

International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) We know the world through the sensory representations within our brain. Such "reconstruction" is performed through the electrical activation of neural cells, the code that contains the information that is constantly processed by the brain. If we wish to understand what are the rules followed by the representation of the world inside the brain we have to comprehend how electrical activation is linked to the sensory experience. For this...

2013-04-04 15:05:26

Rodents recognize objects using sophisticated perceptive strategies Sight is such a spontaneous activity that we are unaware of the complexity of the brain mechanisms it implies. For instance, we easily recognize objects, which appear to look always the same, without realizing that we observe them from ever-changing points of view and that their image — the luminance profile cast onto the retina —varies significantly each time we look at them. To maintain such "invariance"...

2013-01-28 19:38:30

A new organic 'ferroelectric,' economical and with low environmental impact, has been created The electronics industry has a remarkable impact on the environment, yet research is devising new solutions to reduce it. Among these, a new compound with an unutterable name, the diisopropylammonium bromide (DIPAB), a new ferroelectric material created by an international team of researchers that include Massimo Capone and Gianluca Giovannetti of Istituto Officina dei Materiali at CNR and of the...


Word of the Day
call-note
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'
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