MaxPlanckResearch 3/2019


On the urge to regulate freedom
Digitization is transforming the economy, society, and every individual’s life. With it, the need is growing for clear legal framework conditions. These should leave sufficient freedom for the data economy, while preventing too much market power from being concentrated in a single place. Our authors examine the ways in which politics have approached these challenges in the recent past. They also warn against protectionist regulation and rushed decisions – not only in the digital sphere.

Physics & Astonomy

Inventory of the Universe
The European space observatory Gaia has surveyed approximately two billion stars with unprecedented precision – a treasure trove of data that has already changed our view of the Milky Way. Coryn Bailer-Jones from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg has been involved in the project since its inception. He compiled one section of the star catalog and, among other things, searched it for stars that have approached close to our solar system, or will do so in the future.

Biology & Medicine

Tiny giants
Viruses are usually incredibly small, but some deviate from the norm and reach sizes greater than that of a bacterial cell. Matthias Fischer from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg is one of a small number of scientists working on giant viruses of this kind.

Materials & Technology

A tour de force on data highways
Today, the Internet is just as much a part of our everyday life as our refrigerator. Yet researchers are constantly working to develop it further so that it can continue to function despite all the innovations. Anja Feldmann, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbruecken, is one of them. However, there are some problems that she can only solve when she focuses her entire attention on her hobby.

Environment & Climate

Partners in the deep
It is truly a feat to create conditions like those in the deep ocean in a research laboratory. Gunter Wegener has mastered the art. Together with his team from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, he hopes to discover how microorganisms degrade methane and other hydrocarbons on the seabed.
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