Yearbook 2015

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
During ageing, human proteins tend to aggregate. At a certain point, protein aggregation becomes toxic, which can cause damage to occur also in neurons and may result in neurodegenerative diseases. By studying model organisms like the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, it is possible to uncover the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. Scientists recently found that a naturally occurring molecule enhances defence mechanisms against neurodegenerative diseases. Feeding this particular metabolite to C. elegans improves clearance of toxic protein aggregates in the body and extends life span.  more

Is the age-related decline in sleep quality reversible?

Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing Metaxakis, Athanasios; Tain, Luke Stephen; Grönke, Sebastian; Hendrich, Oliver; Hinze, Yvonne; Birras, Ulrike; Partridge, Linda
Sleep is essential for human health. But with increasing age, many people experience a decline in sleep quality, which in turn reduces their quality of life. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing have investigated the mechanisms by which ageing impairs sleep in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Their findings suggest that age-related sleep decline can be prevented and might even be reversible. more
The evolution of the human lineage is tightly linked to the evolution of the brain. To better understand the evolutionary changes in brain development, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology compare the cranial bones of recent modern humans to those of our closest living and fossil relatives. more
The intertwining and co-production of normative and technological strands in the politics of natural resource extraction are associated with the transformation of local knowledge into capitalizable intellectual property. The emergence of Moroccan argan oil on the world market shows how the integration of a forest resource in the global economy by means of normative and technological appropriation is organized. The ensuing transformation of the local legal configuration and the livelihood conditions of the local population are in the centre of analysis. more

The Archives of the Max Planck Society – a review of 2014

Archive of the Max Planck Society Starkloff, Kristina
Besides having the status quo recorded in an opening balance, 2014 brought along a number of other innovations. Along with changes in personnel, which included a new Archive Management, the digitization of MPG films deserves particular mention. For the first time ever, these materials can be made available to interested users. Attention was paid to enhancing the Archive's visibility and the usability of its holdings. Like every year, the Archive received numerous queries from within Germany and from abroad as well as from the Institutes and the Administrative Headquarters of the MPG. more

In Orion, Herschel finds the youngest stars yet

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Stutz, Amelia M. ; Robitaille, Thomas; Henning, Thomas; Krause, Oliver
A combination of the Herschel Space Observatory with the submillimeter telescope APEX leads to the discovery and characterization of the youngest known protostars yet: stellar embryos still deeply embedded in unexpectedly dense dust cocoons. more

Pinpointing the most fertile galaxies in the universe

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Hodge, Jacqueline A.; Walter, Fabian; Decarli, Roberto; Rix, Hans-Walter; Schinnerer, Eva
Pinpointing the positions of more than 100 of the most fertile star-forming galaxies with the compound telescope ALMA clears up a mystery about these objects' observed productivity – and shows that previous studies had frequently mis-identified such galaxies. more
Neutron stars are born as extremely hot and dense objects at the centers of massive stars exploding as supernovae. They cool by intense emission of neutrinos. Three-dimensional supercomputer simulations at the very forefront of current modelling efforts reveal the stunning and unexpected possibility that this neutrino emission can develop a hemispheric (dipolar) asymmetry. If this new neutrino-hydrodynamical instability happens in nature, it will lead to a recoil acceleration of the neutron star and will have important consequences for the formation of chemical elements in stellar explosions. more
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics propose a crucially improved distance measurement. They use a strong gravitational lens system with a time-varying source (e. g. a quasar) to measure the angular diameter distance to the lens. more