MaxPlanckResearch 3/2020

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020

Emmanuelle Charpentier
The Director of the Max Planck Research Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin was awarded the Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking work on the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9. Emmanuelle Charpentier shares the prize with Jennifer Doudna.

Nobel Prize in Physics 2020

Reinhard Genzel
The Director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research on black holes, in particular for the detection of the supermassive black hole that resides at the heart of our Milky Way. Reinhard Genzel shares the prize with Andrea Ghez and Roger Penrose.


Steven Vertovec: Global Migration and the “Great Reshaping”
The future of societies worldwide is currently being reshaped at a fundamental level by concurrent crises: the coronavirus pandemic, the resulting economic recession and climate change. Steven Vertovec considers how these three crises are seriously affecting global migration. He describes the complex factors that relate to global migration and outlines the challenges that loom ahead.

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Hunting for Spies in Computer Chips
Becoming a Max Planck Director via “secondchance” education is probably something of an exception. But that is precisely what happened in the case of Christof Paar, one of the founders of the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy in Bochum, where his work now includes tracking down hardware Trojans on computer chips.

Biology & Medicine

Using a tree’s natural defenses
Trees stand for strength and steadfastness. However, the latter can also be a handicap. This is because trees can neither run nor hide from enemies. Nevertheless, trees are by no means defenseless. Sybille Unsicker from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena is investigating how black poplars defend themselves against voracious insects.

Culture & Society

Beyond the Emergency
Five years ago, the arrival of thousands of refugees within a short period of time presented the administrative offices of the German municipal authorities with a huge challenge. Taking three towns in Lower Saxony as an example, Miriam Schader from the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Goettingen studied how the municipal authorities handled the situation.

Material & Technics

The light converters
The sun sends more energy to Earth than humanity needs. Researchers led by Bettina Lotsch, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, are working on materials that can help us put this abundant supply to use for a whole host of purposes – even beyond the energy revolution.

Environment & Climate

Risky Cooling
Volcanoes are sources of ideas. When they erupt, they emit large amounts of sulfur dioxide, cooling the climate. This has prompted experts to discuss whether geoengineering involving the targeted release of the gas could reduce global warming. Ulrike Niemeier from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg is investigating the feasibility of the idea and the dangers it might entail.
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