Yearbook 2009

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Whenever languages come into contact with each other, lexical borrowing also takes place. Such loanwords can provide interesting information about historical relations. In working out the genealogical relationship of languages across long time periods, however, it is often difficult to decide whether words that sound similar are to be attributed to common ancestry or to the influence of contact. A comparative project of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology for the first time identifies general trends in lexical borrowing across the languages of the world. more
The House of Culture is so ubiquitous in Russian towns and villages that whoever has lived or been there for some time thinks to know what its function is. However, there is surprisingly little research about its past and present condition. In five small towns of Russia, researchers of the MPI for Social Anthropology have explored the role of the House of Culture, the sphere of culture work, and current changes in education and leisure. more

Youngest Extrasolar Planet Discovered in a Circumstellar Disk

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Setiawan, Johny; Henning, Thomas; Launhardt, Ralf; Müller, André; Weise, Patrick; Kürster, Martin
The discovery of the first planet around another star than the Sun in 1995 gave this field of astronomical research an enormous observational and theoretical impetus. At the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) the search for exoplanets and the numerical simulation of the formation of planets is an important area of research. Within a long-term survey, a team at the Institute has now found the youngest planet known so far in the circumstellar disk of the eight to ten million years old star TW Hydrae. The discovery has important implications regarding the formation of planets in the circumstellar disks around newborn stars. more

Dwarf Galaxies Under the Magnifying Glass

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Coleman, Matthew G.; De Jong, Jelte T. A.; Martin, Nicolas F.; Rix, Hans-Walter; Bell, Eric F.; Hippelein, Hans
With the decisive participation of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), on Mount Graham in Arizona the Large Binocular Telescope is being erected. It consists of two primary 8 meter mirrors supported by a common mounting. In spring of 2007, first observations were performed with one of the two mirrors. The first results were published in a study by MPIA’s Matthew Coleman and his colleagues, which refers to three dwarf satellite galaxies accompying the Milky Way system: their peculiar morphologies result from the complex history of their evolution due to strong gravitational interaction with the Milky Way. more
How would the surface of our Sun look like, if we had telescopes which have a resolution ten times that one of present instruments? Would the Sun look any different further inside? In an international collaboration scientists at the University of Vienna, and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics have used numerical simulations on high performance computers to answer these questions. They found a highly turbulent flow showing ever more details hidden underneath the smooth looking surface which we know from images of our Sun in visual light. more
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) have carried out the largest simulation thus far of the formation of a Milky Way-like dark matter halo. This allowed the first detailed theoretical predictions of the dark matter distribution in the vicinity of the Earth. more