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Coming dissertations at Uppsala university

  • International Humanitarian Law and Influence Operations : The Protection of Civilians from Unlawful Communication Influence Activities during Armed Conflict Author: Pontus Winther Link: Publication date: 2019-09-03 09:39

    Contemporary armed conflicts are not only fought with physical means and methods. Increasingly, in order to achieve military and political objectives, parties to armed conflicts use communication activities to influence individuals. Armed groups such as ISIS use online propaganda to instil terror and recruit new fighters to their cause. In Syria and other conflict zones, medical personnel, aid workers and journalists are subjected to verbal threats and other types of intimidation. In the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, politicians are publicly discredited by having their pictures displayed on electronic billboards and being labelled as war criminals, while civilians are misled by false messages into assisting the opposing party with identifying targets for artillery fire.

    At the same time, communication is also used to increase the security for civilians in armed conflict. For example, parties to armed conflicts have an obligation to issue warnings before launching attacks on military objectives that may affect the civilian population. Thus, although communication activities can be used to increase security for civilians in armed conflict, they may also cause physical and mental harm to civilians.

    This prompts a question of law: Where does the boundary lie between prohibited and lawful use of communication activities as a means of influencing civilians in armed conflict? The purpose of this thesis is to answer this question. It sets out to examine what protection international humanitarian law provides civilians in armed conflict in relation to communication influence activities.

    In the thesis, it is suggested that international humanitarian law contains a substantial—albeit fragmented—body of principles and provisions protecting civilians from harmful communication influence activities. It is further suggested that, in order to correctly define this protection, the material, personal, geographical and temporal scope of application of international humanitarian law must be properly taken into consideration.

  • Valfrihetens geografi och rationella gymnasieval : En experimentell studie om elevers preferenser vid val av skola Author: Mikael Thelin Link: Publication date: 2019-08-30 13:54

    The increased possibility to choose school and adaption of market mechanisms has created a Swedish upper secondary school market that exhibits spatial variations. However, in the general political and medial debate on choices in the educational sector of today, geography has come to have a hidden place. Based on the rational choice theory, the reform proponents have taken for granted that students’ preferences reflect the quest for the best school of knowledge. Studying students’ preferences is thus central to be able to highlight the importance of the freedom-based reforms in the publicly founded sector.

    The aim of this thesis is to examine students’ preferences for attributes that are central to the choice of upper secondary school. A further purpose is, based on the preferences, to examine the reform-bearing rational choice theory. The empirical data is based on a feasibility study conducted on 587 students in Halmstad and on a larger national study with data from 1440 students. The national study is carried out on 16 different schools, divided into 12 different municipalities.

    The results of the thesis show that the students’ preferences are characterized by both academic and non-academic considerations. In other words, the students’ academic preferences have competition from other, non-academic preferences that also are of importance for the students and therefor affect how attractive a school is considered. Further, there are differences in preference between the students and it is mainly their grades that correlate with these differences. The study also shows that there are small differences between the students’ preferences that can be related to their spatial context.  

    The fact that students’ preferences do not fulfill the expectations in the underlying and reform-bearing theory, raises the question of how the educational producers and the students use choices to design the school market. There is a fundamental positive value in being able to choose and people in general want to be free and self-determined. For both the individual and the knowledge society, it is, however, crucial that the freedom of choice is not used to deselect knowledge. In this context, understanding of students’ preferences is important.

  • Modelling the Molecular World of Electrolytes and Interfaces : Delving into Li-Metal Batteries Author: Mahsa Ebadi Link: Publication date: 2019-08-30 11:29

    Lithium metal batteries (LMBs) are potential candidates for powering portable electronic devices and for electromobility. However, utilizing the reactive Li metal electrode means tackling serious challenges in terms of safety risks. A better understanding of electrolytes and solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation are highly important in order to improve these issues.

    In this thesis, density functional theory (DFT) and molecular dynamics (MD) are used to explore novel electrolyte systems and the interfacial chemistry of electrolyte/Li metal surfaces. In the first part, the electronic structure and possible decompositions pathways of organic carbonates at the Li metal surface are investigated, which provide information about initial SEI formation. Computed X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for these interfacial compounds is used as a tool to find likely electrolyte decomposition pathways and are supported by direct comparison with the experimental results. The electronic structure and computed XPS spectra of electrolyte solvents and the LiNO3 additive on Li metal by DFT provide atomistic insights into the interphase layer.

    Solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) are promising electrolytes to be used with the Li metal electrode. In the second part of the thesis, MD simulations of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) doped with LiTFSI salt/Li metal interface demonstrate the impact of the surface on the structure and dynamics of the electrolyte. A new interfacial potential model for MD simulations is also developed for the interactions at the SPE/metal interface, which can better capture this chemical interplay. Moreover, the approach to improve the ionic conductivity of SPEs by adding side-chains to the backbone of polymers is scrutinized through MD simulations of the poly(trimethylene carbonate) (PTMC) system. While providing polymer flexibility, a hindering effects of the side-chains on Li+ ion diffusions through reduced coordination site connectivity is observed.

    In the final part, different polymer hosts interacting with Li metal are explored, and rapid decomposition of polycarbonates and polyester on the surface is seen. The complexes of these polymers with LiTFSI and LiFSI showed significant changes in the computed electrochemical stability window and salt degradations. Lastly, Li2O was obtained by DFT calculations as a thermodynamically stable layer on the surface of the Li metal oxidized by PEO.

    The modelling studies performed in this thesis highlight the applicability of these techniques in order to probe the SEI and electrolyte properties in LMBs at the atomistic level.