MaxPlanckResearch 3/2017

Viewpoint

<p class="p1">A New Rule for Public Pensions</p>

Few if any socio-political topics prey on the mind as much as financial security in old age. Few if any offer such a fertile electoral battleground. In our author’s view, however, perceived truth is a poor foundation on which to base pension security. Instead, he lays out the facts and their consequences.

Physics & Astronomy

<p class="p1">Glass Fibre Rainbows</p>

In their conventional form, hair-thin glass fibres ensure fast internet speeds – but conducting light with very low loss isn’t the only thing they can do. Philip Russell, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen, and his colleagues are using a novel type of optical fibre, known as photonic crystal fibre (PCF), to manipulate the properties of laser light and control its interactions with matter. Their work is leading to many applications, for example in advanced ultraviolet light sources and optical fibre sensors for medicine, industrial manufacturing, structural engineering and environmental monitoring.

Biology & Medicine

<p class="p1">The Protein Puzzle</p>

The human body consists of tens of thousands of proteins. What’s more, these occur in several variants whose concentration in the organism can change over time. Matthias Mann from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried therefore needs clever algorithms and a lot of computing power for his research. His goal, after all, is to decode the entire human proteome – that is, the full set of proteins in the human body – for the benefit of medical science.

Materials & Technology

<p class="p1">Built with Light</p>

3D printing is the future. But it’s not yet possible to get the most out of the materials and the production processes used. Scientists at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf, together with colleagues from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, are therefore working to help the new method come of age.

Environment & Climate

<p class="p1">Sailing Close to the Wind</p>

Ralf Schiebel has already undertaken more than 30 research cruises. The geologist has headed the micropaleontology working group at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz since autumn 2015. With each expedition, he has accumulated plankton and sediment samples, folders stuffed with logs and data – and memories of adventures that he will probably tell his grandchildren about.