2016 Projects

Logical methods in the philosophy of physics

The aim of this project is to apply logical methods to problems in the foundations of physics. We propose to classify several already existing axiomatizations of the special theory of relativity, using classical and recently developed notions of theoretical equivalence, such as Quine-Glymour equivalence, the more general notion of Morita equivalence, and the even more general notion of categorical equivalence. In a second step, we will attempt to construct first-order theories that capture some of the interesting structure of the general theory of relativity and analyze them in the same way.

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Partnering Princeton and Geneva to lead community advancements in geochronology

U-Pb geochronology is the most widely applicable and accurate tool for measuring  ages of rocks and reconstruct rates of geologic processes, from the formation of the solar system, to mass extinction events, and recent volcanic eruptions. Advances in sample preparation methods, isotope measurement, and data reduction have led to increasingly more precise dates. At the same time, higher precision has lead to questions about the fundamentals of isotope systems in mineral structures, requiring development and refinement of scientific concepts. 

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EUROCOMPLEX

Regime Complexes and European Studies in Interdisciplinary Perspective (EUROCOMPLEX) aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration on the topic of regime complexes. Regime complex means that many policy areas are governed not by one overarching International Organization (IO) but rather by overlapping sets of rules and institutions that are loosely connected. The extension of policy competences to the European Union (EU) in the 1990 has led to the superposition of different regulatory and procedural regimes. The central question for the EUROCOMPLEX project is how the existence of regime complexes has impacted the policy options available to the EU as it tackles pressing international challenges created by economic globalization.

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Behavioral Interventions to Promote Energy Efficiency

Central to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, the mitigation of climate change is one of the most pressing challenges our society is facing. Many national and international initiatives have been launched aiming at the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The success of these initiatives, however, does not only require the development of new technologies, but also substantial changes in individual behavior. Research in the behavioral sciences has demonstrated that behavior change can be facilitated through choice architecture,

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Exploring Eastern Europe/Russia – Middle Eastern relations, late 19th to late 20th centuries

There are two compelling intellectual reasons for this project. First, histories of Eastern Europe/Russia – Middle East relations (EERMER) are a relative lacuna in the scholarship on both regions; most extant work is centered on Russia/USSR, and/or the Cold War, and/or state actors; and few scholars od various subfields are in conversation. Second, EERMER from the late 19th to the late 20th centuries is a wonderful laboratory to explore broad conceptual issues – for instance about periodization and space – in the field of modern (societal) transnational and (state) international history.

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The link between supermassive black hole activity and star formation

The physical processes underlying the evolution of galaxies, which shape the diversity of present-day galaxies,  has yet to be understood. One of the most important unresolved questions is, what role do central supermassive black holes (SMBH) play in galaxy evolution? The link between the SMBH and the host galaxy properties is now well documented, showing a tight correlation between the mass of an extinct SMBH and the properties of its host galaxy,  whose star formation is quenched.

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Perception of faces of mothers with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to interpersonal violence

We received a seed-grant in 2014 from the Geneva/Princeton collaborative research grant, which allowed us to have a fruitful collaboration, using avatars created by Prof. Alexander Todorov and colleagues at Princeton, and to use them in a face evaluation task with the clinical population of the Geneva Early Childhood Stress Project (GECS-Pro), Dr. Daniel Schechter, principal investigator. The GECS-Pro involved mothers with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to interpersonal violence (IPV). In this pilot study,

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Learning History in Emergency Zones

We are proposing to join the work of InZone at the University of Geneva (which offers training and learning opportunities for students and scholars working emergency zones) and the Global History Lab (which offers an online course to tens of thousands of students worldwide and at Princeton) to extend Princeton’s online course to refugees in Azraq refugee camp and in Amman, Jordan, and in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya (year 1) and to undergraduates from the University of Geneva (year 2).

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The metabolic control of tissue integrity and function in health and disease

Participants:

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The role of Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy

Participants:

  • Prof. Gabriele Thumann, UNIGE Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Division of Ophtalmology
  • Prof. Jean E. Schwarzbauer, Princeton Department of Molecular Biology

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Exploring links between statistical learning abilities and attention

Participants:

  • Prof. Daphne Bavelier, UNIGE Faculty of Psychology and Education Science/Neuroscience Center
  • Prof. Nicholas Turk-Browne, Princeton Department of Psychology/Neuroscience Institute

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Small codes for large systems: information-theoretic privacy preserving content identification

Participants:

  • Prof. Svyatoslav Voloshynovskyy, UNIGE, Faculty of Science, Centre universitaire d’informatique
  • Prof. Emmanuel Abbe, Princeton, Appliced and Computational Mathematics and Electrical Engineering

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Enhanced superconducting wires for fusion applications

Participants:

  • Prof. Carmine Senatore, UNIGE, Faculty of Science, Section of Physics
  • Dr. Yuhu Zhai, Princeton, Plasma Physics Lab

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Application of validated facial avatar paradigm to study of violence-exposed mothers with PTSD

Participants:

 

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Democratic responsiveness and redistributive politics

Participants

  • Prof. Jonas Pontusson, UNIGE, Faculty of Social Science, Department of Political Science and International Relations
  • Prof. Nolan McCarty, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School, Politics and Public Affairs

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The Ising model in three and four dimensions

Participants:

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