Advanced Training Programme 2018 Edition

SISSA offers 2 fellowships in the framework of an “Advanced Training Programme” leading to a fast track PhD in connection with the Inter-University Master course in Physics jointly delivered by the Universities of Trieste and Udine. The program lasts 2 years and is aimed to candidates who wish to acquire theoretical tools and necessary skills to start a high level research activity in Theory and Numerical Simulation of Condensed Matter Physics. A unique opportunity for everybody with a passion for research!
Application will be accepted till July 2018.

More info here: Announcement Advanced Training Programme


The 15th ETSF Young Researchers’ Meeting 2018

The Young Researchers’ Meeting  of the European Theoretical Spectroscopy Facility is an annual conference organized and attended exclusively by researchers without permanent position that work on state-of-the-art theoretical and computational methods for the study of electronic and optical properties of materials.
The 2018 YRM edition will be held from June 4-8 at the CFEL in Hamburg, Germany. The submission deadline for abstract and posters is March 25th 2018. For more information please visit the YRM website

The meeting looks great, thanks to the organizers for the excellent job! I’m really happy of being part of such event as keynote speaker of the  Strongly Correlated Electrons, Magnetism, and Topological Phases of Matter Session.  See you in Hamburg !

Superconductor, Insulator… the graphene’s suprises

Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, scientists have found that this honeycomb-like sheet of carbon atoms is not just the thinnest material known in the world, but also incredibly light and flexible, hundreds of times stronger than steel, and more electrically conductive than copper.

It turned out recently that a sandwich of two graphene layers can be tuned, by twisting the angle between two sheets, to behave at two electrical extremes: as an insulator, in which electrons are completely blocked from flowing; and as a superconductor, in which electrical current can stream through without resistance.  More about it, here!


The effects of rotation in twisted bilayer graphene. a, When a graphene bilayer is twisted so that the top sheet is rotated out of alignment with the lower sheet, the unit cell (the smallest repeating unit of the material’s 2D lattice) becomes enlarged. For large rotations, the electronic band structures of the two graphene sheets are also rotated out of alignment (not shown). b, For small rotation angles, a ‘moiré’ pattern is produced in which the local stacking arrangement varies periodically. Cao et al.1,2 have observed that, for rotation angles of less than 1.05°, regions in which the atoms are directly above each other (the lighter regions in the pattern) form narrow electron energy bands, in which electron ‘correlation’ effects are enhanced. This results in the generation of a non-conducting state2 (a Mott insulator), which can be converted into a superconducting state1 if charge carriers are added to the graphene system. [Nature, News and Views, E.J.Mele, 05 MARCH 2018]

  1. Cao, Y. et al. Nature (2018).
  2. Cao, Y. et al. Nature (2018).

International Day of Woman and Girls in Science

The United Nations have proclaimed February 11 the International Day of Women and Girls in Science aiming to ensure full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

Events in Trieste

To celebrate the International Women and Girls in Science Day 2018 and to join forces to build an inclusive scientific community, ICTP, Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and SISSA are organizing two events scheduled on 7 and 9 February 2018.
At Antico Caffé San Marco on 7 February 2O18 a discussion aperitivo will take place starting from 6 pm . Following some short presentations from representatives of Trieste scientific institutions, the floor will be open for a discussion of the current status quo, the specific challenges facing members of our community, and specific events and strategies for moving forward. The second event will take place on 9 February 2018 at ICTP from 10.00 to 11.00. In that occasion, a group of female researchers from ICTP and SISSA will give a 5 minute talk to present to  high school students their work as scientists.
Also the Science Centre – Immaginario Scientifico of Trieste is going to celebrate on Sunday Feb. 11th. All-female staff will guide inside the museum (10 am – 6 pm). Reduce fee for women. No reservation needed.

Actividades en Madrid y toda España

En Madrid y en toda España ya está en marcha la organización de actividades para conmemorar el Día Internacional de la Mujer y la Niña en Ciencia en Febrero de 2018.

DiaMujerNinaCienciaCharlas, talleres, concursos, exposiciones y mesas redondas llenarán los museos, planetarios, centros culturales, las universidades y hasta el bar de la esquina.

Actividades 2018 (Toda España)

Muchas gracias a todas las mujeres (y todos los hombres también!) de la organización de ese 11/02 2018 y en particular gracias a mi queridas colegas del ICMM que el año pasado han puesto en marcha todo eso!  Mucha suerte!

Mas informaciones sobre Mujer y Ciencia

Exciton Condensation

Excitons are pairs of electrons and holes inside a solid material that together behave like a single particle. It has long been suspected that when many such excitons exist in the same piece of matter, they can form a Bose-Einstein condensate. However, actually proving that Bose-Einstein condensation of excitons occurs in any real material has been a challenge for physicists for decades. Experimental evidence of such a state has been found!

A comment about the discovery: Spontaneous Bose-Einstein condensation of excitons

The scientific article: Signatures of exciton condensation in a transition metal dichalcogenide



Public Presentations


Part of the broad mission of a scientist is to talk about science! There are a number of different occasions, conferences, festival, university open days and fairs,  and the audiences can vary a lot ranging  from people who work in your area of interest or in related fields, to potential funders, from high-school students, to general public.

Unfortunately, instead of engaging audiences and conveying enthusiasm, many presentations fall often flat. Pitfalls include overly complicated content, monotone delivery and focusing on what you want to say rather than what the audience is interested in hearing.


Creating a dynamic, engaging and effective presentation is a difficult task! In what follows some material I found online that can be useful to improve the effectiveness of our public speeches:

  • There are two major facets to a presentation: the content and how you present it. Let’s face it, no matter how great the content, no one will get it if they stop paying attention. Here are some pointers on how to create clear, concise content and how to give a dynamic scientific presentation.
  • Your presentations need great visuals to succeed. Skeptical? Check out these impressive statistics on the power of visuals.
  • The concept of “Death by PowerPoint” has largely been blamed on the over use of bullets in presentations.  How can you avoid people dying of your bullets? These are 10 techniques to use on your slides if you are stuck with the bullets and minimize the chance your audience will fall asleep during your presentation…