Max Planck Institute News

New Research Shows Neanderthals Were Born with Wide Bodies and Robust Bones

May 25, 2016

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New Study Shows Neanderthals Were Stocky from Birth

Scientists investigated whether the differences in physique between Neanderthals and modern humans are genetic or caused by differences in lifestyle, finding that Neanderthals’ wide bodies and robust bones were formed by birth. If a Neanderthal were to sit down next to us on the underground, we would probably first notice his receding forehead, prominent brow […]

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Astronomers Reveal the Secret Life of the Orion Nebula

May 16, 2016

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Secrets of the Orion Nebula Revealed

A team of astronomers reveal how the interplay of magnetic fields and gravitation in the gas cloud lead to the birth of new stars. Space bears witness to a constant stream of star births. And whole star clusters are often formed at the same time – and within a comparatively short period. Amelia Stutz and […]

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New Study Details How Bacteria Become Individualists

May 9, 2016

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Bacteria Cells Respond Differently to Lack of Nutrients

No two bacteria are identical – even when they are genetically the same. New research reveals the conditions under which bacteria become individualists and how they help their group grow when times get tough. Whether you are a human or a bacterium, your environment determines how you can develop. In particular, there are two fundamental […]

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New Research May Help in the Development of Nano-Optical Transistors for a Photonic Computer

May 5, 2016

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A Step Towards the Photonic Computer

Researchers show that a single molecule allows a beam of light with a few photons to be controlled – a step towards the photonic computer. The Jedi knights of the Star Wars saga are engaged in an impossible fight. This does not result from the superiority of the enemy empire, but from physics because laser […]

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Children of Older Mothers Are Healthier, Taller and Obtain More Education

April 12, 2016

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Children of Older Mothers Do Better

New research shows that the benefits associated with being born in a later year outweigh the biological risks associated with being born to an older mother. Children of older mothers are healthier, taller and obtain more education than the children of younger mothers. The reason is that in industrialized countries educational opportunities are increasing, and […]

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How Extraterrestrial Astronomers May Have a Chance of Discovering Earth

March 2, 2016

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The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence in Earth's Solar Transit Zone

New research suggests that future searches for habitable planets and for the signals from extraterrestrial observers focus on that part of the sky in which potential distant observers of the planetary system can notice the yearly transit of the Earth in front of the Sun. Are we alone in the universe? To answer this question, […]

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Astronomers Identify the Precise Location of a Fast Radio Burst in a Distant Galaxy

February 25, 2016

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Radio Burst Reveals 'Missing Matter' in the Universe

An international team of astronomers used a combination of radio and optical telescopes to identify the precise location of a fast radio burst (FRB) in a distant galaxy, allowing them to conduct a unique census of the Universe’s matter content. Their result, published in today’s edition of Nature, confirms current cosmological models of the distribution […]

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Scientists Develop a Light-Driven Three-Dimensional Plasmonic Nanosystem

February 24, 2016

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Researchers Develop Nanoplasmonic System in the Form of a Pair of Scissors That They Can Open Using UV light

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have developed a nanoplasmonic system in the form of a pair of scissors that they can open using UV light. Nanomachines could take over a variety of tasks in future. Some day they may be able to perform medical precision work in the human body or […]

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Climate Change Threatens Boreal Coniferous Forests

February 22, 2016

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Climate Change Threatens Dark Taiga

New research from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry reveals that Boreal coniferous forests could see increased occurrences of fire as a result of global warming, with deciduous trees becoming more dominant in the future. Climate change is transforming the Earth, particularly in high-latitude regions. The boreal coniferous forests of the northern hemisphere will witness […]

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Physicists Test the Response Time of Electrons

February 18, 2016

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Researchers Determine the Delay with Which Electrons in Atoms Respond to the Electromagnetic Forces of Light

Researchers from the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics generated for the first time visible flashes of light in attosecond dimensions. They dispatched the light-flashes to electrons in krypton atoms. Through the experiment the researchers have been able to display that the electrons, which are stimulated by the flashes, needed roughly 100 attoseconds to respond to the […]

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Scientists Characterize Nerve Cells That Detect Motion by Light Changes

February 8, 2016

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Neurobiologists Characterize Nerve Cells That Detect Motion by Light Changes

In a newly published study, neurobiologists from the Max Planck Institute reveal that (in fruit flies) four classes of nerve cell are involved in calculating directionally selective signals. The ability to see the direction in which something is moving is vital for survival. Only in this way is it possible to avoid predators, capture prey […]

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Astronomers Gaze Deep Into the Heart of Active Galaxy BL Lacertae

January 28, 2016

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BL Lacertae the Hottest Hearth in Space

Astronomers observe microwave radiation from the vicinity of the black hole in the active galactic nucleus known as BL Lacertae, which is 900 million light years. A black hole lurks at the center of the active galaxy in a distance of 900 million light years, known as “BL Lacerta.” Microwave radiation is emitted from the […]

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Biochemists Identify Another Piece of the Parkinson’s Disease Pathology Puzzle

January 28, 2016

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Researchers Identify another Piece in the Parkinson's Disease Pathology Puzzle

An international team has discovered that the LRRK2 kinase regulates cellular trafficking by deactivating Rab proteins. This finding illuminates a novel route for therapeutic development and may accelerate testing of LRRK2 inhibitors as a disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson’s, the second most common neurodegenerative disease. An international public-private research consortium has identified and validated a cellular […]

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New Study Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

January 7, 2016

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New Research Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

A new study from the Max Planck Institute reveals that the mixing of archaic human forms played an important role in shaping the immune system of modern humans. When modern humans met Neanderthals in Europe and the two species began interbreeding many thousands of years ago, the exchange left humans with gene variations that have […]

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Astronomers Present the Effelsberg-Bonn HI-Survey

December 17, 2015

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The Effelsberg–Bonn HI Survey First Data Release

Astronomers from Bonn University and the Max Planck Institute present the Effelsberg-Bonn HI-Survey. Radio astronomers from Bonn University and the Max Planck Institute have surveyed the entire northern sky in the light of the neutral hydrogen (HI) 21-cm line using the Effelsberg 100-m dish. This effort, led by Jürgen Kerp (Argelander Institute for Astronomy) and […]

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Bacteria Can Be Spatially Excluded from the Exchange of Amino Acids

December 9, 2015

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Study Shows Bacteria Can Be Spatially Excluded from the Exchange of Amino Acids

New research shows that bacteria, which reciprocally exchange amino acids, stabilize their partnership on two-dimensional surfaces and limit the access of non-cooperating bacteria to the exchanged nutrients. In natural microbial communities, different bacterial species often exchange nutrients by releasing amino acids and vitamins into their growth environment, thus feeding other bacterial cells. Even though the […]

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New Research Reveals the Mystery of Missing Ordinary Matter

December 3, 2015

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Study Details the Mystery of Ordinary Matter

New research shows that the majority of missing ordinary matter is found in the form of a very hot gas associated with intergalactic filaments. Matter known as ordinary, which makes up everything we know, corresponds to only 5% of the Universe. Approximately half of this percentage still eluded detection. Numerical simulations made it possible to […]

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New Model Maps the Development of Stem Cells in the Human Body

November 13, 2015

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New Model Analyses of the Development of Stem Cells

Using the telomeres on the chromosomes of blood cells, scientists have designed a mathematical model for mapping the development of populations of haematopoietic stem cells with advancing age. Stem cells ensure the regeneration and maintenance of the body’s tissues. Diseases like cancer can arise if they spiral out of control. In collaboration with doctors from […]

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