MaxPlanckResearch 4/2019


Democracy needs science
In times when different groups in society are increasingly isolating themselves from each other, science is also threatening to become just another opinion bubble. Yet in order to resolve global problems – particularly climate change – we need scientific expertise. At an event held by the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany on September 26, 2019 in Berlin, the Federal President therefore demanded that scientists engage in dialog with politicians and society. You can read a transcript of his speech below.

Physics & Astronomy

Particle hunters on the trail
The detection of the Higgs boson represented a huge success for the particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider. But other expected or unexpected discoveries, which physicists hoped would explain the appearance of the world we live in, have failed to materialize. Now, Hermann Nicolai, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, and Siegfried Bethke, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, are on a quest for new prospects in particle physics.

Materials & Technology

The digital language artist
He describes himself as a bit unconventional. Derek Dreyer does, indeed, work with languages. Not, however, with everyday languages, but with programming languages, since they’re more logical. The U.S.-born researcher works at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Saarbruecken. Even though science is an important part of his life, he still makes room for passions like music. And then there’s the thing about whisky – unconventional indeed.

Environment & Climate

Burn damage in the rainforest
This summer, there were more forest fires in Brazil than virtually any on record. Susan Trumbore, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, is looking at the consequences that the immense loss of rainforest has on the local, as well as global climate. She also examines the likelihood of a forest recovering from a fire. If only it is given the chance.

Culture & Society

Patterns of terror
Terrorism awakens fear and anxiety. We feel particularly helpless because the perpetrators‘ actions seem so incomprehensible. But there is actually a certain logic behind the actions of terrorist groups. Carolin Görzig and her group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle have set themselves the task of discovering the rules by which terrorists act. Their findings are shedding more light on the enigma of terrorist plots.
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