MPR 4 /2011


Euro Sums Don’t Add Up
Will Europe fail if the euro collapses? Many believe it will, and are trying to save the euro. Our author holds a different view: If the euro is to be used as a tool to preserve European integration, the eurozone must be reduced to a core of countries that are equipped for long-term stability, allowing the remaining EU members to return to the more flexible European Monetary System.

Physics & Astronomy

The Turbulent Birth of Stars and Planets
Exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than the Sun – used to be a matter of science fiction. Some 15 years ago, with the first detection of an exoplanet, they became a matter of observational astronomy. Since then, exoplanet observations have provided astronomers with intriguing clues as to the formation of stars and planets.

Biology & Medicine

GenesThat Come Close to the Bone
Nearly a quarter of all known illnesses are extremely rare and affect just a few thousand patients worldwide. Stefan Mundlos, a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, and his team specialize in the study of rare bone diseases. They are looking for the genes that trigger these disorders.

Materials & Technology

Images Take Shape
Humans need only a two-dimensional photo or film to be able to perceive a face or a body in 3-D. Researchers working with Thorsten Thormählen at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken are teaching this skill to computers, thus creating new ways of working with images and films.

Environment & Climate

Traveling in Time through Climate History
When climatologists look into the past, they intend to learn for the future. Victor Brovkin and his team at Hamburg’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology reconstruct historical climate changes and analyze what processes reinforce those changes. Their discoveries are helping to predict the future of the Blue Planet.

Bridges for Fusion
To consolidate the scientific basis for a fusion reactor – this was Sibylle Günter’s objective when she took up her post as Scientific Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics. But ever since the German government renounced nuclear fission, nuclear fusion has also had a difficult time politically.

Culture & Society

The Short March to Capitalism
Old Buddhist temples, rural underdevelopment and extreme poverty on the one hand, skyscrapers, high-tech and world champion in exports on the other: during the past 40 years, China has surged forward to catch up with the industrialized nations.
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