MaxPlanckResearch 2/2022


A pragmatic approach to helping refugees
Europe is currently experiencing the largest movement of refugees since the Second World War. However, unlike 2015, when many people from Syria and Afghanistan sought shelter in Europe, there are currently no demands to turn back refugees at the border. How does the situation today differ from then? And what lessons can we learn from this for the future? Our author Dana Schmalz searched for the answers to these questions.

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Visit to Laura Kreidberg
Two years ago, a new department opened at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg in which researchers study the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. Its young director, Laura Kreidberg, has made a name for herself with some of the first observations of these worlds and is one of the lucky ones who will get to observe with the new James Webb Space Telescope.

Biology & Medicine

Land of plenty in the Mediterranean Sea
At the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Marcel Kuypers’ and Nicole Dubilier’s departments are unraveling the mysteries of seagrass meadows. Their discoveries have been astonishing: microorganisms play a crucial role in the fitness, productivity, and element fluxes of plants, not just on land, but also in the sea.

Culture & Society

On the fringes of the rule of law
In Germany’s diverse society, law and order are not just overseen by the police and the courts. There are communities that have their own means of settling disputes: family clans with foreign roots, for instance, but also motorcycle gangs and so-called Reichsbürger (Reich citizens), who turn their back on the modern German state and long for a return of the days of empire. Hatem Elliesie of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle and Clara Rigoni of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security, and Law are studying this phenomenon.

Enviroment & Climate

Machine teaching
Artificial intelligence has the power to support people in an ever-increasing number of areas – including education. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems are working under Adish Singla’s leadership to find methods to help children learn how to program. These algorithms can, however, also be used in other areas.

Material & Technology

Quantum computing’s leaps and bounds
With the expectation that they will be able to solve problems that stump even today’s best computers, both governments and private financiers are investing heavily in the development of quantum computers. The team led by Ignacio Cirac, a Director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, is researching what computers will actually be able to do in the years to come. As the research reveals, not all hopes are likely to be fulfilled so soon.

Physics & Astronomy

View of a cosmic donut
Sitting deep in the heart of the Milky Way, it is 27,000 light years from Earth and resembles a donut: this is how the black hole at the center of our galaxy looks in the image obtained by researchers using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).
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