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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    Martina Wiltschko
    Wiltschko, Martina E.
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    My research explores the fundamental building blocks of human language, how languages differ in their realization, as well as how these building blocks relate to more general cognitive capacities. My empirical emphasis has been the language found exclusively in interaction: i.e., aspects of language that serve to regulate the construction of common ground among interlocutors on the one hand and the dialogical interaction itself (e.g., turn-taking). I explore how interactional language compares with propositional language (i.e., the language of reference which allows for the construction of thought). My research clearly reveals that interactional language is as much part of our human-specific capacity for language as propositional language is. This suggests that language is equally important for the configration of thought as it is for the configuration of conversational interaction. Significantly, this finding helps to answer a classic question that has divided linguists for centuries: language is an instrument  for thought AND for communication. As such, interactional language is a unique and ideal window into the tacit and human-specific knowledge which defines our capacity for language both as an instrument for thought and a tool for communication. To this end, I now explore interactional language from a variety of different angles. i) its acquisition and how it relates to the acquisition of propositional language; ii) its use in populations with neuro-diverse profiles (aphasia, autism, etc.); iii) its relation and place in the architecture of the human mind (relation to theory of mind, construction of emotions, etc.); iv) its role in human-machine interaction. Thus, my research links to neighboring fields, including philosophy (referential semantics, pragmatics), sociology (conversation analysis), and psychology (theory of mind), and artificial intelligence.

    Key words

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

    ORCID

    : 0000-0003-4647-3033
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    Andreas Winter
    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
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    Andriy Yaroshchuk
    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
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    Santiago Zabala
    Zabala, Santiago
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    My books, articles, and research focus on the meaning of art, politics, and freedom in the twenty-first century where, as I claim, "the greatest emergency has become the absence of emergency." The goal of philosophy is to thrust us into these absent emergencies (such as climate change or economic inequality) in order to disrupt the ongoing “return to order” that surveillance capitalism and right-wing populism are imposing upon us. These problems are discussed in my most recent book—Being at Large: Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020) —and in many articles. This year Altamarea Editores and Bollati Boringhieri Editore translated this book into Spanish and Italian.

    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
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    Joao Zilhao
    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
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    Patricia Ziveri
    Ziveri, Patrizia
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    Her broad scientific interest is on marine global environmental change, ecology, and biogeochemistry at various time scales and complexity. She focuses on multidisciplinary investigation from target marine organisms at the base of the food web, to marine microplastics and biogeochemical processes. With her research group she works on the ocean in a changing climate and under human pressure. linking CO2 dynamics, climate change and target marine processes. She is interested in pressing threats to the marine environment and their societal relevance such as ocean acidification, warming and oxygen loss in different regions, both in coastal systems and open seas, from social to biogeochemical processes. With her group, she developed a specific laboratory to address microplastics in coastal and open ocean systems. Her research is bridging the natural and social systems on issues of major societal and sustainable development concern.

    Key words

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

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-5576-0301

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