Yearbook 2007

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Three sources of q-hypergeometric series will be discussed: Mock theta functions, "characters" of rational conformal field theories and the Witten-Reshitikhin-Turaev invariant of the icosahedral Poincaré sphere. more
The aim of this note is to give a very informal introduction into the world of arithmetic geometry, and especially Arakelov geometry. more

In the eye of the beholder – Signal processing in the retina

Max Planck Institute for Medical Research Euler, Thomas; Hausselt, Susanne E.; Castell, Xavier; Denk, Winfried
Our eyes receive a permanent stream of visual information, which needs to be interpreted promptly and correctly. To deal with this enormous amount of data, processing starts already in the back of our eye, in the retina, where important features of the viewed scene are extracted. To elucidate the organization and function of the underlying neuronal microcircuits is one of the research topics of the department of Biomedical Optics at the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg. more
Waves of depolarization have often been observed in experimental stroke models. They periodically propagate across cerebral cortex, and the number of waves correlates with infarct size. Similar depolarizations have now been found in stroke patients. The waves cycle around ischemic foci suggesting that not only periodicity of appearance but also extent of progressive brain injury is related to cyclic propagation of depolarisations. more
Particles suspended in the atmosphere, so-called aerosols, reflect sunlight and alter cloud properties. In the global mean anthropogenic pollution aerosol by these direct and indirect effects cools the climate. The studies presented here in which new comprehensive remote sensing data are used show that for the direct as well as for the indirect effect former estimates for the climate effect of anthropogenic aerosol have been exaggerated. more
Myxococcus xanthus is a bacterium with multicellular behaviors: In nutrient-limited environments, the cells enter a developmental program leading to spore-filled fruiting bodies. Regulation of the program involves intra- and intercellular signals and coordination of distinct cell populations. To facilitate this behavior, the developmental program is comprised of unusual signal transduction systems that integrate multiple signals. more
Many transport processes in the oceans and seas - in the water column and the seabeds - are of physicochemical nature. Small scale hydrodynamic and gasdynamic processes causing global effects play a major role in improving our understanding of marine systems, and hence, of our planet. Research concentrates on numerical simulation of diffusion, advection and chemical reaction processes as well as particle and gas transport in marine systems. more
The surface alloy Bi/Ag( 111) exhibits a giant spin splitting of its surface electronic structure due to Rashba spin-orbit coupling. Electronic structure calculations prove that the effect is brought about by an in-plane structural inversion asymmetry in the surface layer, in interplay with the conventional Rashba effect. These findings pave the way for testing theoretical predictions for spin-orbit split two-dimensional electron gases. more

Structural genomics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis - a step on the way to new therapies against tuberculosis?

Max Planck Research Unit for Structural Molecular Biology at DESY Bartunik, Hans D.
Tuberculosis represents a global health threat of escalating proportions, in particular due to the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains. Furthermore, little is known about the mechanisms applied by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to enter a dormant state, thus resisting to the immune defense system over long periods of time, and to reactivate itself. Identification of genes that are essential for virulence and survival of the pathogen, analysis of the three-dimensional structure of proteins encoded by these genes and studies of interactions with ligands may provide an important basis for possible directed development of new chemotherapeutic agents. Such a structural genomics approach has been followed by several groups and up to now have investigated about 200 target proteins. more
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