The Max Planck Society has maintained close relations with China for almost 50 years. The country has undergone a rapid development in recent years and is currently on a par with Europe and the U.S. in terms of research. As the Max Planck Society’s Vice President Klaus Blaum explains, this poses entirely new challenges for collaborative research.
Among his many talents, it took a while for Majd Al-Naji to discover his current passion for chemistry. He is currently searching for solid catalysts for the production of fuels and other chemical products from plant waste or plastic at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, and he can already look back on his extraordinary career.
Max Planck researchers cooperate with partners in more than 120 countries. Here they write about their personal experiences and impressions. Shambhavi Priyam of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods is coordinating an information campaign in northeast India in order to protect people from arsenic-contaminated well water. She reports on culinary delights, the slow wheels of the Indian bureaucracy, and celebrating her birthday in the midst of a pandemic.
Culture & Society
Nowadays, political debates often turn into verbal brawls – especially on social media. In order to counteract this, Eckehard Olbrich and Sven Banisch of the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig and Philipp Lorenz-Spreen of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development are investigating how polarization occurs and how opinion formation in groups works.
Material & Technology
Germany's objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 will require a massive expansion of solar energy and improved photovoltaic modules. New materials such as perovskites promise to deliver more cost-effective and more efficient solar arrays. To pave the way for their development, Stefan Weber and Rüdiger Berger of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz are clarifying the processes that take place inside perovskite solar cells.
Physics & Astonomy
Advances in technology are likely to make cyber-attacks ever more damaging. But at least the transmission of data could become more secure - through quantum communication. This has spurred researchers from around the world to work on its physical principles and technical components. Gerhard Rempe's team at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching have set their vision even higher: to network quantum computers.
Environment & Climate
Thus far, most industrialized countries have taken only half-hearted measures to limit their CO2 emissions, and the effects of global warming are becoming increasingly apparent. At the same time, the pressure on governments is growing as climate activists are increasingly taking the matter to court. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law are looking into how jurisprudence and legislation could help to counter climate change.