IYL 2015 Events #5 | Week 2-8 February

Find below the activities listed on the IYL 2015 Event Programme starting between 2-8 February. Click on the links for more information on the different activities.

Please note that some last-minute additions to the event programme may not appear here. For an up-to-date overview of IYL 2015 events please visit the IYL 2015 Event Programme.

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Light meets Gold

During the last decade oncological diseases have spread enormously. According to the statistics of World Health Organization, cancer takes second place in the list of leading lethal diseases. The first place goes to cardiovascular diseases. Only in 2008 more than 7.6 million people died from cancer worldwide. In order to improve survival factors, early diagnostics and effective therapy is a necessity.

Fluorescence imaging is a sensitive and quantitative method that is widely used for observing cells and cell processes in vivo, also for noninvasive tissue imaging, which is a promising tool for cancer diagnostics. Unfortunately, the sensitivity of fluorescence imaging is limited due to characteristics of fluorescent agents applied. In biological studies most commonly used fluorophores are organic dyes and semiconductor quantum dots. Currently another type of imaging agents has been shown to have a particularly great promise in bioimaging – fluorescent gold nanoclusters. Being composed of non-toxic elements and having surface that could be easily modified with antibodies, biomarkers or functional molecules, they also possess properties such as high fluorescence yield and good biocompatibility.

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Astronomers travel in time and space with light

As an astronomer, I use light to travel through the universe, and to look back in time to when the universe was young. So do you!  All of us see things as they were when the light was emitted, not as they are now. The farthest thing you can easily see without a telescope is the Andromeda Nebula, which is a galaxy like the Milky Way, about 2.5 million light years away. You see it as it was 2.5 million years ago, and we really don’t know what it looks like today; the disk will have rotated a bit, new stars will have been born, there could have been all kinds of exploding stars, and the black hole in the middle could be lighting up.

The Andromeda Galaxy. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Andromeda Galaxy. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Searching for Schrödinger’s cat – How to turn photon quantum entanglement into a choreography

It was a sunny day in August 2013 when my friend Margherita and I decided that my PhD thesis on ‘Generation and manipulation of multiphoton quantum states of light’ could be an interesting dance subject.

Our aim was to participate in the ‘Dance your PhD’ contest. The summer heat and the clear Liguria Sea in front of us provided the right inspiration. I began to tell Margherita what my thesis was about. For three years, I had used light — specifically, the fundamental particle of the electromagnetic field, the photon — in order to explore the transition from the microscopic to the macroscopic world. To enlighten this micro-macro transition, I started with a funny story: the Schröedinger’s cat paradox.

Schoredinger’s cat paradox. Credits: Andrea Parisi

Schoredinger’s cat paradox. Credits: Andrea Parisi

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