Istituto Lombardo - Accademia di Scienze e Lettere - Rendiconti di Scienze Rendiconti di Scienze it-IT Istituto Lombardo - Accademia di Scienze e Lettere - Rendiconti di Scienze 1974-6989 VITAMIN B12 AND NORMAL PRIONS: TWO FIELDS APPARENTLY SO FAR, BUT IN REALITY SO NEAR Cobalamin (Cbl) deficiency causes an imbalance in some cytokines and growth factors in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system of the rat, and in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of adult Cbl-deficient (Cbl-D) patients. We hypothesized that an imbalance in normal prion (PrPC) levels and/or synthesis might be involved in the pathogenesis of Cbl-D neuropathy. Using different appropriate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), we determined the levels of Cbl, tumour necrosis factor-a, epidermal growth factor, and PrPC in spinal cord (SC) and CSF of Cbl-D rats treated or not with different molecules; in serum, CSF from Cbl-D or multiple sclerosis (MS) patients; and in post-mortem SC samples taken from MS patients and control patients. We have demonstrated that: (i) Cbl deficiency induces excess PrPC regions (particularly octapeptide repeated (OR) region) in rat SC; (ii) the SC increase is mediated by a local Cbl deficiency-induced excess of tumour necrosis factor- a; and (iii) CSF and serum PrPC concentrations in Cbl-D patients are significantly higher than in controls. CSF PrPC concentrations are significantly lower in MS patients than neurological controls. The Cbl, EGF, and PrPC levels were significantly decreased in post-mortem MS SCs in comparison with controls Giuseppe Scalabrino Daniela Veber ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 SEMICONDUTTORI NANOSTRUTTURATI PER APPLICAZIONI TERMOELETTRICHE: UN CONCETTO INNOVATIVO DIMOSTRATO AL COMPUTER I will discuss the thermal transport properties of nanostructured silicongermanium alloys for thermoelectric applications. By means of atomistic simulations, I will show that it is in fact possible to design a nanocomposite with optimal thermoelectric performances, i.e. maximizing its figure of merit. In particular, computer experiments provide quantitative evidence that the phonon flux from hot to cold regions (phonons are the microscopic heat carriers) is dramatically affected by the network of grain boundaries present in the nanocomposite Luciano Colombo ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 THE DARK ENERGY EXPLAINED BY A SCHWARZSCHILDIAN COSMOLOGY - ET CETERA In a First Part we give a Schwarzschildian generalization of the Newtonian, and Friedmannian, models of universe. By virtue of the Hilbertian gravitational repulsion, our formulation explains the red-shifts of the galaxies and the existence of a DARK ENERGY. In the Second Part we discuss two ignored consequences of Friedmann’s metrics: i ) the existence of a time coordinate such that there is no expansion of Friedmann’s universes; ii ) a corollary of a theorem by Hönl (1949), which tells us that the physical meaning of the point-origin of the galaxy paths is very problematic. Angelo Loinger Tiziana Marsico ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 THE PERCEPTION OF AMBIGUOUS IMAGES AS A QUANTUM INFORMATION PROCESS A simulation of the dynamic perception of the Necker cube in terms of a two level quantum system – e.g. a qubit realized by a Josephson junction or by an electron of spin ½ controlled by magnetic fields – indicates that the neuro-physiological transformation leading, through a symmetry reduction, to perceptual reversal is controlled by the principles of quantum mechanics. A value of the order of 0,32 mJ.s is estimated for the elementary neuro-physiological action simulating the Planck constant at a mesoscopic level. In this interdisciplinary study key concepts are utilized: symmetry, symmetry reduction, self-organization, superposition principle and ambiguity. Giuseppe Caglioti Giorgio Benedek Luigi Cocchiarella ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 DALL’EPISTOLARIO DI CARLO ERMES VISCONTI, NOTE SU VICENDE DI MONUMENTI MILANESI The unpublished letters of Carlo Ermes Visconti (1834-1911) goad a further investigation on the architectural events discussed in Milan during the last decades of the nineteen century, especially, referring to the Lazzaretto and the restoration of the Sforza Castle. The correspondence of the marquis Visconti, with Luca Beltrami, Gaetano Negri and Giovanni Celoria, at least, shows the nature of his relationship with the cultural and political milieu he attended supporting a deeper analysis of his profile, not only the biographic one. Contents and correlations singled out throught this documents among figures, actions and circumstances allow a few remarks and some new perspectives about his opinion on restoration and preservation of the ancient buildings and, furthermore, the role he played in the settlement of civic collections and museums, being these topics different part of a same goal. Michela Marisa Grisoni ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 PREVISIONI INCERTE DECISIONI DIFFICILI This work focuses on decision problems concerning risk reduction in the case of catastrophic events, which are scarsely predictable but associated to severe expected damage. A cryterium is outlined in order to judge the relative credibility of competing models. The knowledge-decision process is dissected in its components. The steps of the procedure from knowledge to final decision are analyzed. The effectiveness of short-term prediction and the choice of the acceptable risk are also discussed. A few case studies, related to earthquakes, landslides and pollution, are exposed. Elisa Guagenti Grandori ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2015-07-23 2015-07-23 SU ALCUNE CINQUECENTINE SCIENTIFICHE DELLA BIBLIOTECA DELL’ISTITUTO LOMBARDO We introduce some of the 96 books of scientific content, published in the 16th century and belonging to the Istituto Lombardo library. We chose some books in the field of the “natural sciences” both for iconographic peculiarities and for the original content. The library owns the first edition of the anatomy treatise of Andrea Vesalio. The medical books of Jean Francois Fernel, Antonio Fracanzani, Girolamo Fracastoro, the botanical treatise of Pier Andrea Mattioli and the geographical treatise of Giovan Battista Ramusio although in further edition are of great interest in order to evaluate the state of the art and the evolutionary steps of the science. Some books are rather rare and precious and deserve to be accurately exploited. Also the texts should be worthy of a critical investigation, overcoming the linguistic difficulties, both for the latin and for italian texts. Fiorenza De Bernardi Giannantonio Sacchi Landriani ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2015-07-23 2015-07-23 I PRINCIPI DELLA DINAMICA DI TARTAGLIA E CARDANO NELLE CINQUECENTINE DELL’ISTITUTO LOMBARDO The library of Istituto Lombardo owns two volumes of XVI century (cinquecentine) including physical sections. La nova scientia by Niccolò Tartaglia printed In Venetia: per Nicolò de Bascarini a istantia de l’Autore, 1550 and the De rerum varietate by Girolamo Cardano printed Basileae: per Sebastianum Henricpetri, 1581. Together with the De Subtilitate by Girolamo Cardano, these books contain the general laws of dynamics and, in great detail, a description of the trajectory of a projectile fired from a firearm. Though the general principles are still of Aristotelian derivation, a new attention to experimental facts together with an unconvential pragmatic use of etherogeneous explanation arguments, justified by an essentially practical goal of predictive nature, induce one to identify both Tartaglia and Cardano as true precursors of modern ballistics. Furthermore, the way Cardano revisits the role of driving force played by the projectile-air interaction, following a modified idea of Aristotle due to the lacking of an inertia law in his mechanics, and the concomitant need that air produces also a resisting force, reminds us that, so far, a rigorous microscopic derivation of the exclusively dissipative nature of this force has not been achieved yet as well as a rigorous microscopic derivation of the second principle of thermodynamics. Carlo Enrico Bottani ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2015-07-23 2015-07-23 L’EDIZIONE CARDANIANA DEL CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE; UN’OCCASIONE PERDUTA The Cardano edition from the Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche has been a wasted opportunity. It shows the lack of an accurate systematic approach that led to the Cardano Project ending in fialure. The project had been fostered by the “National research council Center for the study of philosophical thought in the 16th and 17th centuries in relation to scientific questions”, set up by Mario Dal Pra. The aim had been for it to prepare a critical edition of the works of the doctor, mathematician, astrologist and philosopher Girolamo Cardano (Pavia 1501-Rome 1576). Enrico Isacco Rambaldi ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 LE APPLICAZIONI DELLE NUOVE MODALITÀ OPERATIVE MISTE AL RILIEVO DELLA GUGLIA MAGGIORE DEL DUOMO DI MILANO The main purpose of the paper is to discuss how to use 3D models in the world of Cultural Heritage (CH) by focusing on complex architectures. The experience of survey and modelling of the main spire of the Milan’s Cathedral is described. It is as an example, how a detailed real based 3D model is created and used as base for an information system (BIM) that is now at disposal for the maintenance works of the cathedral. The interesting case of study is the chance to present common problems, adoptable solutions and to discuss about the use and implementation of this kind of system for CH. Carlo Monti ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 LA BIOLOGIA SINTETICA COME UN NUOVO QUADRO INTERPRETATIVO DEI SISTEMI VIVENTI Synthetic Biology is not just a contemporary update of the recombinant DNA technologies of the past 30 years along with a descriptive language imported from electrical and industrial engineering. It is also a new interpretative key of living systems as well as a declaration of intent on the use and reprogramming of biological objects for human benefit. In the same way that scientific chemistry initiated by Lavoisier evolved into the Chemical Engineering that is the basis of our industrial society, Biology has acquired a transforming potential that will possibly lead to a type of industry and economy very different from the current paradigm. To this end, it is essential to identify bottlenecks that limit the design of biological objects from first principles and not to miss the train of Synthetic Biology at its current foundational stage, when talent -and not the muscle- is what really matters. Víctor De Lorenzo ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 MAXWELL E GLI ANELLI DI SATURNO While still as a student at Cambridge University, James Clerk Maxwell attention was attracted by Saturn Rings. To discover how these celestial bodies are composed, he constructed various mathematical models; each model was derived under different assumptions, such as: the rings constitute a unique rigid cap, or the rings are made by a gas nebula, and so on. The adopted rationale was to construct the models and then validate them by comparing their characteristics with “the facts”, as Maxwell wrote, namely with the observation of reality. For the validation, Maxwell resorted to the notion of stability. Indeed, being the rings operating since millennia, it was argued that the stability property had to be satisfied. In the opposite, the model had to be rejected, together with the underlying assumption. This approach, which anticipates the current identification techniques, is summarized by the author with this masterful statement: … by rejecting every hypothesis which leads to conclusions at variance with the facts, we may learn more on the nature of these distant bodies than the telescope can yet ascertain. With his approach, Maxwell came to the conclusion that the rings are constituted by various rigid parts disconnected each other rotating around the planet, a fact which has been confirmed by space missions of our days. Sergio Bittanti ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 PANCREAS AND ISLET TRANSPLANTATION: CLINICAL INDICATIONS AND CLINICAL RESULTS Pancreas transplantation is the more effective cure for type 1 diabetes. Although intensive insulin scheme has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of diabetes related complication, only pancreas transplantation normalizes glycometabolic control, avoids the risk of severe hypoglycemic events and prevents or in some case ameliorates diabetes related complications. In this review it will be analyzed the impact of pancreas transplantation on diabetes related complication and patient survival. Islet cell transplantation has recently emerged as one the most promising therapeutic approaches to improving glycometabolic control in type 1 diabetic patients and, in many cases, to obtaining insulin independence. Islet cell transplantation requires a relatively short hospital stay and has the advantage of being a relatively noninvasive procedure. The rate of insulin independence 1 year after islet cell transplantation has significantly improved in recent years Data from a recent international Trial confirmed that islet cell transplantation can be potentially a cure for type 1 diabetes. Recent data indicate that insulin independence after islet cell transplantation is associated with an improvement in glucose metabolism and quality of life and with a reduction in hypoglycemic episodes. Islet cell transplantation is still in its initial stages, and many obstacles still need to be overcome. Once clinical islet transplantation has been successfully established, this treatment could even be offered to diabetic patients long before the onset of diabetic complications or to patients with life-threatening hypoglycemic unawareness and brittle diabetes. Antonio Secchi ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2006-12-30 2006-12-30 NEURONAL APOPTOSIS AND INTERVENTION STRATEGIES Following distal nerve injury significant sensory neuronal cell death occurs in the dorsal root ganglia, while after a more proximal injury, such as brachial plexus injury, a sizeable proportion of spinal motoneurons also undergo cell death. This phenomenon has been undervalued for a long time, but it has a significant role in the lack of functional recuperation, as neuronal cells cannot divide and be replaced, hence the resulting nerve regeneration is usually suboptimal. It is now accepted that this cell death is due to apoptosis, as indicated by analysis of specific genes involved in the apoptotic signalling cascade. Immediate nerve repair, either by direct suturing or nerve grafting, gives a degree of neuroprotection, but this approach does not fully prevent neuronal cell death and importantly it is not always possible. Our work has shown that pharmacological intervention using either acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) or N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) give complete neuroprotection in different types of peripheral nerve injury. Both compounds are clinically safe and experimental work has defined the best dose, timing after injury and duration of administration. The efficacy of neuroprotection of ALCAR and NAC can be monitored non-invasively using MRI, as demonstrated experimentally and more recently by clinical studies of the volume of dorsal root ganglia. Translation to patients of this pharmacological intervention requires further work, but the available results indicate that this approach will help to secure a better functional outcome following peripheral nerve injury and repair. Giorgio Terenghi ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 ON THE RELATIVISTIC GRAVITATIONAL COLLAPSE ET CETERA Massive and supermassive “dust” spheres (with a zero internal pressure) collapse to compact “full spheres” of finite volumes, whose surfaces have the properties of the event horizon of a gravitating mass-point. By virtue of Hilbert’s repulsive effect, both the event horizon of a mass-point and the event horizon of a “full sphere” cannot “swallow” anything, in contradiction with the assertion of a locus communis. The observational data corroborate our results. Angelo Loinger Tiziana Marsico ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 SUPERHYDROPHOBIC SURFACES FOR DRAG REDUCTION Properties of superhydrophobic materials are examined in light of their possible use for drag reduction in naval applications. To achieve superhydrophobicity a low-surface-energy material must be structured so as to minimize the liquid-solid interactions. The crucial aspect is that of maintaining a layer of gas in between the (rough) wall and the liquid, and this can be achieved by hierarchical micro- and nano-structuring of the solid surface, to ensure a sufficiently large apparent slip of the fluid at the wall, thus reducing skin friction. The behavior of the liquid is quantified by a slip length; recent results have shown that this length can be as large as 400 μm. As far as transition to turbulence is concerned, we show that superhydrophobic surfaces are effective (i.e. they delay the onset of travelling instability waves) only in channels with characteristic dimensions of a few millimeters. Conversely, when the fluid flow has already attained a turbulent state, the gain in term of drag reduction can be very significant also in macroscopic configurations. This occurs because the relevant length scale of the boundary layer is now the thickness of the viscous sub-layer, which can be of magnitude comparable to the slip length, so that an effective coupling emerges. Finally, some procedures to produce superhydrophobic surfaces are examined, in light of the possible application of such innovative coatings on the hull of ships. Alessandro Bottaro ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 IL LASER: FULCRO DI GRANDI INFRASTRUTTURE DI RICERCA An important characteristic of the laser sources consists in the ability to generate short and intense radiation pulses. This feature has stimulated the development of large-scale laser infrastructures mainly dedicated to nuclear fusion. This paper presents the realization of a new research infrastructure “Extreme Light Infrastructure” (ELI) which has conceptually different purposes compared to the others. The main feature consists essentially in the production of an extremely high peak power by using pulses of the duration of a few femtoseconds and of high energy. Focusing these pulses over an area of the size of the laser wavelength one can achieve extremely high intensities, which will enable new research in particle physics, gravitational physics, nonlinear field theory, physics of high pressures, astrophysics and cosmology. Sandro De Silvestri ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 L-TIROSINA: ANIMALE O VEGETALE? An investigation has been carried out to show how it is possible to collect information on the animal or vegetal nature of the diet of a certain animal, by determining the O18 isotopic abundance of the OH group of tyrosine samples extracted from proteins obtained from the animal itself. Claudio Fuganti ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30 EINSTEIN AND BESSO: FROM ZÜRICH TO MILAN The 1896-1901 Milanese period is a key one to understand Einstein’s training background. When he was a student at the ETH in Zürich (the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich) from 1896 to 1900, he would make regular trips back to Milan to stay with his family who was involved in the development of the electricity industry in northern Italy. Between 1899 and 1901, he would meet his faithful friend and collaborator, Michele Besso in Milan on a regular basis. Given their relationship, the 1899-1901 Milanese period therefore foreshadowed the Bern period. In order to specify the circumstances under which Einstein and Besso got the chance to meet, we will show that their respective families did have interconnected social networks, especially through the electricity sector and the polytechnic engineering Universities of Zürich and Milan. The branch of the Cantoni family, on Michele’s mother’s side, rather ignored by now, played a crucial role: with Vittorio Cantoni, a renowned electrical engineer who had not been previously identified as being Michele’s uncle, and Giuseppe Jung, professor at the Milan Politecnico. We will also show that when staying in Milan, Einstein, who lived in a well-knownMilanese palace in the heart of the city, worked in the nearby rich library of the Istituto Lombardo, Accademia di Scienze e Lettere in Brera. The linkage between the scientific observations which can be found in Einstein’s correspondence and this library collection sheds new light on his scientific work, in particular on his original thesis. Christian Bracco ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2014-12-30 2014-12-30