Frauds and Errors: The Dark Side of Science

LECTURER
Prof. Ernesto Carafoli

VIMM, Padova

DATE: 29th August 2019
TIME: 9:00 – 10:00 am
LOCATION: Rigoni Stern Institute, Asiago

Errors and frauds in science have always occurred but have increased dramatically in recent times. The main reason for the increase is the “publish or perish” atmosphere that has pervaded science, in which publishing a high profile paper is the factor that decides whether a researcher will have a successful career or is forced out of science. A number of technical measures are now increasingly trying to ameliorate the situation, however, only the end of the unhealthy scrambling to publish at all costs, and to do so in the high profile Journals that dominate the world of science, will heal it completely and conclusively.
The phenomenon, in the case of the Moon, is due to the light from the Sun reflected by the Earth toward the Moon and, more generally, is nowadays known as “planetshine”.
In this lecture, we will follow the lead of Leonardo and delve into the motion of the Moon around the Earth and the Sun, learning what an astronomer from the Renaissance should have known and understand why the “Ashen Light” happens.  Then, we will leverage “planetshine” as a long-term monitor of Earth’s own climate and as a tool to discover habitable planets outside the Solar System.

Carafoli, E. (2015). Scientific misconduct: the dark side of science. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei. DOI 10.1007/s12210-015-0415-4.

LECTURE 2 –

 The Evolutionary Choice of Cellular Signals: Why Calcium

LECTURER

Prof. Ernesto Carafoli

VIMM, Padova

DATE: 2nd September 2019
TIME: 15:30 – 16:30 pm
LOCATION: Rigoni Stern Institute, Asiago

Calcium carries messages to virtually all important functions of cells. Although already active in unicellular organisms its role has become universally important after the transition to multicellular life.

In this lecture, we explore how calcium ended up in this privileged position. Most likely Its unique coordination chemistry has been a decisive factor as it makes its binding by complex molecules particularly easy, even in the presence of large excesses of other cations, e.g. magnesium.

Its free concentration within cells can thus be maintained at the very low levels demanded by the signalling function. A large cadre of proteins has evolved to bind or transport calcium. They all contribute to buffering it within cells, but a number of them also decode its message for the benefit of the target. The most important of these “calcium sensors” are the EF-hand proteins. Calcium is an ambivalent messenger: while essential to the correct functioning of cell processes if not carefully controlled spatially and temporally within cells it generates variously severe cell dysfunctions, and even cell death.

 

 

Brini, M., et al., (2013). Chapter 4. Calcium in health and disease. In: A. Sigel, H. Sigel, and R.K.O. Sigel (Eds.), Interrelations between Essential 81 Metal Ions and Human Diseases, Metal Ions in Life Sciences, 13: 81–137. DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-7500-8_4.