When young people migrate without their parents, the most important question for German authorities is: are they minors or young adults? Unaccompanied minors receive support and legal protection, while adults must endure a protracted asylum procedure on their own. Ulrike Bialas has investigated the situation of young refugees. She advocates a more flexible approach to the question of age.
Meritxell Huch has led her own scientific department at the Max Planck Society since last year, making her one of the youngest directors in the organization’s history. However, the scientist was not born into her career.
75 Years Max Planck Society
Climate crisis, species extinction, ozone depletion – undesirable ecological trends threaten life on Earth as we know it, and with it the very stability of society. The associated dangers are very well understood. This is the focus of the Earth system cluster at the Max Planck Society. Two later Nobel laureates, Paul J. Crutzen and Klaus Hasselmann, played a major role in its creation.
Environment & Climate
The Maldives, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and parts of the Solomon Islands: if the sea level continues to rise, several island states will vanish under the sea within a few decades. As things stand today, the residents will lose their homelands – with little chance of asylum or replacement territory. Lawyer Tom Sparks of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law searches for solutions for sinking states.
Material & Technology
Walking and running without stumbling is still a challenge for two-legged robots, especially on uneven terrain. It could be easier for them in the future, however. A team led by Alexander Badri-Spröwitz, Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, has designed a walking robot inspired by running birds. In the future, such machines could be used on construction sites, in agriculture, or even in space missions.
Biology & Medicine
Since ChatGPT was released at the end of 2022, there has been intense debate as to whether artificial intelligence already possesses human-like thinking abilities. Eric Schulz from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen is using psychological tests to investigate whether this algorithm shows signs of general intelligence.
Patrick McClanahan from the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law in Freiburg travelled to Pennsylvania for seven months. He met convicted burglars in four different prisons and encouraged them to rob houses in the service of science.