Adolf von Harnack, the founding father of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, was a courageous pioneer of new and future-oriented structures in science. Interestingly, his concepts have lost little or none of their topicality. Even today, the words he put down on paper must give us food for thought.
Physics & Astronomy
They are often eclipsed by more attractive topics, like black holes or exoplanets. Even the name itself is less than sensational: brown dwarfs. But Viki Joergens and her colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg have gained fascinating insights in this research field.
Newts possess the almost magical ability to regenerate damaged tissue, making them unique among vertebrates. Thomas Braun of the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim is studying the amphibians to learn how an organism can regrow entire organs. Perhaps one day it will help enhance the capacity for regeneration in humans.
Material & Technology
Car bodies, aircraft wings or turbine blades – alloys today are customized for any purpose. Roughly 2,500 different types of steel already exist, and that number continues to grow. Jörg Neugebauer and Dierk Raabe, Directors at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf, are also developing new varieties, and in their search for innovative materials, they even apply the laws of the quantum world.
Environment & Climate
Plants and soils play an important role in the global carbon cycle and in the Earth’s climate, not least because they absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. Yet little is known about how global warming affects these natural sinks. Susan Trumbore, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, has dedicated her research to this subject, and even enjoys getting her hands dirty in search of answers.