Atomium Culture

Atomium Culture

The Permanent Platform of Atomium Culture brings together some of the most authoritative universities, newspapers and businesses in Europe to increase the movement of knowledge: across borders, across sectors and to the public at large.
La plataforma permanente Atomium Culture reúne a las universidades, periódicos y empresas más prestigiosos de Europa para promover el flujo del conocimiento más allá de fronteras, entre sectores y hacia el público en general.

About us

Leading young European researchers have been selected by European research universities and the Scientific and Editorial Committees of AC to write an article about their work and the potential impact of this.

Diagnosing the ‘Health’ of Dalí’s Artwork

Por: | 09 de octubre de 2013

October 9 Dali's ARWORK 1
By Judith Llop, University of Barcelona Press

Image: The painting Self-Portrait Splitting into Three (1926), an early Dalí’s work painted on cotton (a material that tends to degrade due to acidity and environmental conditions). (Photo: © Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, VEGAP, 2013)

Similar to the way doctors measure blood sugar without the need of needles, a team of European scientists and conservators, led by a research group from the University of Barcelona, have examined twelve paintings by Salvador Dalí using a new non-invasive technique to diagnose a painting canvas from the back, without disturbing a single fibre. This technique determines if artwork can withstand the stress of handling and travel.

By shining invisible infrared light on the canvas through fibre optics, scientists obtained information about the ‘health’ of the painting from the reflection of the light. Since canvas is the carrier of paint, any tears or other mechanical degradation could lead to loss of the image if the canvas is too brittle. The research, published on the scientific journal Analytical Methods, is part of Marta Oriola’s PhD thesis, supervised by Professor Gema Campo. Marta Oriola is adjunct lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona.

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Playing the Mastermind Game: Code-Breaking Strategies in Biology

Por: | 07 de octubre de 2013

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By Achim Tresch, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

Figure 1. The Mastermind game (left) and its biological counterpart (right). The goal is to break the hidden “code” (top) in as few rounds as possible. In each round, the player queries the system (bottom). The answers obtained so far guide the design of future questions.

“Quick, let’s take these seats here, right behind those two girls! I fell in love with the brunette!” Nico grabbed my arm and pushed me towards the coach that took us to a snow tour in the Alps. Nico fell in love several times a day, so I was not particularly excited as I followed his instructions.

The two women sitting in front of us were absorbed in a game of Mastermind. One woman selected a hidden sequence of 4 coloured pegs, each peg being one of 6 possible colours. The other tried to guess this sequence by proposing a 4-peg colour sequence. She was told how many pegs were exactly in the right place, and how many pegs had the right colour, as depicted in Figure 1. Her goal was to find the hidden sequence in as few iterations of questions and answers as possible.

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Something from Nothing: Novel Genes from Existing, Non-coding DNA

Por: | 04 de octubre de 2013

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By Daniel Murphy, Trinity College Dublin

Comparison of mouse DNA with that of other species has revealed several genes that have developed through a mechanism of gene creation that remained undiscovered until recently. Our results indicate that this new mode of gene creation is far more frequent than was initially thought.

Understanding the creation of new genes is a primary objective in the study of genetics. There are numerous ways by which such creation can occur, but most depend on genes that are already present. In most cases, the DNA of a ‘parent’ gene is copied to produce a ‘daughter’ gene. Over time the daughter can evolve and may develop new functions. Another, albeit very rare, type of gene creation was not discovered until relatively recently. In this process, known as de novo gene formation, the source of the material for the new gene is not copied from another location. Instead, a previously functionless region of DNA becomes a new gene as the result of a few mutations.

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Brain Strengthens Memories During Sleep

Por: | 02 de octubre de 2013

By Bibiana Bonmatí, University of Barcelona Press

Image: Group from the UB Department of Basic Psychology and IDIBELL led by researcher Lluís Fuentemilla (Photo: IDIBELL)       

Our brains accumulate information during the day, but how is it stored in our memories? How are memories maintained over time? One of the main mechanisms is the consolidation of memory: the brain selects what we remember and what we forget. The optimum moment for the consolidation is during sleep via the reactivation of information.

Researchers from the group of Cognition and Brain Plasticity, the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the University of Barcelona, together with the Epilepsy Unit of Bellvitge University Hospital, have proved the key role of hippocampus (a brain structure involved in memory) in the process of memory reactivation and consolidation.

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