The ICREAs

ICREA research professors form a vibrant community of scientists and researchers in all areas of knowledge that contribute to the advancement of humankind by exploring, interpreting and questioning. Have a look and learn about their amazing discoveries and findings here:

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  • Wiltschko, Martina E.

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

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    Wiltschko, Martina E.

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    <p>My research explores the fundamental building blocks that make up human languages, how these building blocks relate to each other and how languages of the world differ in this respect. I pursue this research focusing on two major empirical domains: traditional grammatical categories and categories belonging to the <em>language of interaction</em> which I hypothesize is also constrained by grammar.</p>

    <p>In my 2014 monograph, I develop a framework for discovering and comparing <strong>grammatical categories</strong> across languages. This work was inspired by 15 years of fieldwork on two languages indigenous to North America (Halkomelem, Blackfoot). It seeks to reconcile a tension between two opposing views: Typologists observe that languages differ in their categorial inventories but generative linguists assume that there is a core which all languages share, including a set of universal categories. The key to reconciling this tension, I argue, is to assume that the categories we observe are always constructed on a language-specific basis, but that there are some universal building blocks involved in their construction, namely the <em>universal spine, </em>a hierarchically organized set of functions which is at the core of constructing sentential meanings.&nbsp;</p>

    <p>I have since used this framework to explore an empirical domain which lies outside of what traditional grammars and modern linguistic theory have considered, namely the <strong>language of interaction</strong><em>.</em> When embedded in a conversation, sentences are enriched with elements that serve to manage interaction (e.g., particles like <em>hm, oh, </em>and sentence intonation). My research has revealed that the linguistic behavior of these elements – their universal and their language-specific properties – can be explained in much the same way as that of grammatical categories of the traditional type.&nbsp;</p>

    <p>Thus, my research links to neighboring fields, including philosophy (referential semantics, pragmatics), sociology (conversation analysis), and psychology (theory of mind).&nbsp;</p>

    Key words

    theoretical syntax, syntax-pragmatics interface, language variation, field-work, categories, language of interaction, discourse markers
  • Winter, Andreas

    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

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    Winter, Andreas

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    I work on quantum information, especially quantum Shannon theory, which aims at incorporating information-theoretic ideas into physics. The Shannon theoretic approach has succeeded in quantifying entanglement as a resource in information processing task, and likewise for other properties of quantum systems such as channel and storage capacities of quantum systems. One of my favourite topics is the interplay between classical and quantum information, evident in the intricate structure of local operations in composite systems, such as data hiding or "information locking". I also work on additivity and non-additivity of quantum channel capacities, quantum data compression, and zero-error quantum communication. Further interests include statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, resource theories, entropy characterization and entanglement measures. But at heart I am a mathematician and will still get fascinated by classic problems: existence of Hadamard matrices, incompleteness, ...

    Key words

    quantum information, quantum theory, discrete mathematics, probability

    ORCID

    : orcid.org/0000-0001-6344-4870

    RESEARCHER ID

    : C-4185-2016

  • Yaroshchuk, Andriy

    Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)

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    Yaroshchuk, Andriy

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    The keyword is behaviour of fluids at nano-scale. I study the transfer of ions and water molecules through nano-metric (tens of nanometers) barrier layers of composite nanofiltration membranes. Another example is the transfer of ions and water through nano-porous track-etched membranes having identical cylindrical pores. I also study processes of current-induced concentration polarization of nano-/micro-interfaces where concentration polarization is strongly-coupled to electroosmosis and fine separation of solutes like peptides can occur. Recently, I discovered that a layered structure consisting of a micro-perforated ion-exchange membrane and a nanoporous layer can have very interesting properties useful for AC electroosmotic pumping . Another topic is experimental and theoretical studies of ion transfer across polyelectrolyte multilayers where we have recently discovered very high (>1000) selectivities in the electrically-driven transfer of ions of different charge magnitudes.

    Key words

    nanofluidics, electrokinetics, electrochemistry, membrane, nanofiltration, colloid

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-6364-6840

    RESEARCHER ID

    : L-5955-2014

  • Zabala, Santiago

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

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    Zabala, Santiago

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    My research focuses in three areas each of which has generated several authored and edited books and journals special issues. These areas are political, social, and aesthetic Continental philosophy. I study each of these following the hermeneutic principle according to which Being is not an objective entity that philosophy must describe but rather the effect of interpretations. Following the work of Gadamer, Vattimo, and Rorty, I emphasize the ontological and political nature of hermeneutics in order to demonstrate the danger of dogmatic beliefs for religious and political practices. My next books and essays will explore “fake news” and “post-truth” in this so-called age of alternative facts to argue, as Bruno Latour said, that "facts remain robust only when they are supported by a common culture, by institutions that can be trusted, by a more or less decent public life, by more or less reliable media.”

    Key words

    Philosophical hermeneutics, philosophy of religion, aesthetics, and political philosophy

    ORCID

    : https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1780-4588

    RESEARCHER ID

    : http://www.researcherid.com/rid/L-2327-2017

  • Zilhão, João

    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

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    Zilhão, João

    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    The Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition has been the focus of my research for the last 20 years, leading to fieldwork at several sites: (a) the Lagar Velho rock-shelter (Portugal) and its burial of an early modern human child with diagnostic Neandertal features (evidence for interbreeding at the time of Neandertal/modern contact); (b) the Almonda karst system (Portugal), whose archeology spans half-a-million years and includes such important fossils as the 400,000 year-old Aroeira 3 cranium; (c) the Pestera cu Oase (Romania), site of Europe's oldest modern humans; (d) Cueva Antón and Cueva de los Aviones (Murcia, Spain), with the earliest known use of personal ornaments, 115,000 years ago; (e) several caves in Iberia, France and Italy where U-Th dating of associated speleothems showed rock art to be >65,000 years old. These early artists were Neandertals, whose behavioral modernity and late persistence to the south of the Ebro drainage remain my main areas of interest.

    Key words

    Palaeolithic Archaeology

    ORCID

    : 0000-0001-5937-3061

    RESEARCHER ID

    : L-5670-2014

  • Ziveri, Patrizia

    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

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    Ziveri, Patrizia

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    Global environmental change on marine ecosystems, ecology, and biogeochemistry at various time scales and complexity is a key theme of her research group, focusing on multidisciplinary investigation of marine calcifying organisms at the base of the food web. With her work on the ocean in a high CO2 world, she is linking the CO2 dynamics, climate change and marine organisms in target regions. Interest on pressing threats to marine systems has led to developing research on ocean acidification (OA) in Africa and in the North Pacific on both climate change and the cycle of microplastics. The study of marine litter and microplastics in Mediterranean island coastlines is an emerging topic in her research group and a new clean laboratory for microplastic studies opened recently at ICTA-UAB. These global change processes can disturb the capacity of marine systems to provide ecosystem services, thereby affecting economic activities and human welfare.

    Key words

    climate and global change, high CO2 ocean, calcifying plankton, marine micropaleontology, biogeochemistry, marine microplastics

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