Scientific highlights 2020

Many publications by Max Planck scientists in 2020 were of great social relevance or met with a great media response. We have selected 13 articles to present you with an overview of some noteworthy research of the year

December 21, 2020
Neandertal gene variant increases risk of severe Covid-19
A segment of DNA that causes their carriers to have an up to three times higher risk of developing severe Covid-19 is inherited from Neandertals more
Spike protein of the new corona virus is more flexible than expected
New findings on Sars-CoV-2 protein shed light on virus’ ability to infect cells more
German Counties: People in the South Live Longer than those in the North
People do not reach the same age everywhere in Germany. Roland Rau calculated the average life expectancy for men and women in all 402 German counties. He discovered that the numbers varied by more than five years and attributed that difference to poverty more
Material design by laser: Thanks to a new technique, layers with different properties can be created in a special alloy during 3D printing.
A composite material with metal layers of varying hardness can be produced through clever temperature variation more
Our deepest view of the X-ray sky
The eROSITA telescope has provided a new, sharp view of hot and energetic processes across the Universe more
Oldest connection with Native Americans identified near Lake Baikal in Siberia
Newly sequenced genomes from prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the region of Lake Baikal reveal connections with First Americans and across Eurasia more
Quantifying the impact of interventions
A Göttingen team analyzes the progression of the epidemic in Germany more
Plant thylacoids are encapsulated in micro-droplets of approximately 90 micrometers in diameter. Equipped with a set of enzymes, the semi-synthetic chloroplasts fixate Carbon dioxide using solar energy, following nature's example.
Researchers develop an artificial chloroplast more
Quantum jump tipping the balance
Measuring tiny differences in mass between different quantum states provides new insights into heavy atoms more
The roots of language
Early evolutionary origin of the human language pathway discovered more
Dance around the heart of our Milky Way
The star S2 orbits the supermassive black hole on a rosette-shaped orbit and confirms Einstein's theory more
The facial expressions of mice
The face of a mouse reveals its emotions more
More precise Cas9 variant
Researchers develop more specific CRISPR-Cas9 gene scissors more

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