There have been enormous developments in our ability to store, transfer and analyze huge data volumes, commonly referred to as big data. Not only are these developments having a dramatic effect on our daily lives, but they are also creating a new dynamic in science, as research fields are redefined and traditional boundaries between established disciplines lose their relevance.
Biology & Medicine
From the tropical rainforest to the urban jungle, birds have conquered many habitats on our planet – and they sing in nearly all of them. Henrik Brumm at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen studies how they use song to communicate with each other. He has taken a particular liking to one extraordinarily talented singer.
Material & Technology
These days, animated figures in films and in computer games are often true to life. After all, they are created with sophisticated three-dimensional models of bodies and faces. Christian Theobalt and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken are making it much easier for graphic artists to generate such models – enabling applications that were previously inconceivable.
Environment & Climate
The ocean is her passion, the seabed her lab bench. Antje Boetius from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen always has multiple objectives in her sights: from discovery and precautionary research to technological development and scientific communication. It’s an act that involves a lot of juggling – sometimes in rubber boots, sometimes in high heels.
Culture & Society
Recently, Europe seems to be stumbling from one crisis to the next. In addition to the debt crisis that has been plaguing the continent for years, a lack of solidarity and trust has now emerged. Some social scientists have identified the origins of this unstable situation in the market-stimulating focus of politics since the 1970s. At the Max Planck Sciences Po Center in Paris, the team headed by Jenny Andersson and Olivier Godechot is investigating the question of how societies deal with instability.