Scientific highlights 2019

Many publications by Max Planck scientists in 2019 were of great social relevance or met with a great media response. We have selected 15 articles to present you with an overview of some noteworthy research of the year.

December 20, 2019
Gamma-ray bursts with a high radiant power
Scientists are observing two cosmic bursts with an incomparably high energy output more
Color patch could throw self-driving vehicles off track
Machine learning methods which calculate movements are susceptible to interference more
Birds in serious decline at Lake Constance
Over the last 30 years, the region has lost 120,000 breeding pairs more
A face for Lucy's ancestor

A face for Lucy's ancestor

August 28, 2019
Researchers discover remarkably complete 3.8 million-year-old cranium of Australopithecus anamensis at Woranso-Mille in Ethiopia more
Global warming may diminish plant genetic variety in Central Europe
Only a few individuals of plants species are prepared for increasing droughts more
Biomarkers indicate health in old age
Researchers can determine the disease vulnerability of older people using a defined set of substances in the blood more
Caterpillars perceive colour through their skin
Twig-mimicking caterpillars change their colour depending on the background and move to colour-matching backgrounds more
While resting, our brain replays experiences we made while making decisions
New method enables deeper understanding of decision-making processes more
Fires weaken tropical rainforests for years
Even ten years after fires, large, old trees die more often and the forests remain more susceptible to fire and storm damage more
Caterpillars perceive colour through their skin
Twig-mimicking caterpillars change their colour depending on the background and move to colour-matching backgrounds more
The opoid crisis and its children
Opioid abuse in the USA reduces life expectancy, especially among baby boomers and the next generation more
Another major step towards room-temperature superconductivity
A hydrogen-rich material becomes superconductive under high pressure and at minus 23 degrees Celsius more
First-ever image of a black hole
Max Planck researchers involved in direct observation of the massive gravity trap in the Messier 87 galaxy more
A change in diet may have transformed human language
Changed dietary habits resulted in the development of new sounds more
Are fish aware of themselves?
Cleaner wrasse seem to recognize themselves in the mirror more
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