Yearbook 2014

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A new comprehensive database on grammatical structures of 76 contact languages provides insight into the origin of these languages, which arose in colonial times, as well as into general laws of the creation of mixed languages. The original languages of the indigenous populations in the colonial areas can be recognized by the clear grammatical traces that they left. more
Depending on their social and political contextualization and status in a given society, languages may function as means of inclusion and exclusion, as ways of (re-)constructing and reconciling collective identities and as strategies to display and transcend group boundaries. Where postcolonial societies are concerned, former colonial policies (also) with regard to language ideologies continue to influence the relationship between language and identity. more

The Archives of the Max Planck Society – a review of 2013

Archive of the Max Planck Society Starkloff, Kristina
2013 saw the completion of many of the projects that had been planned in the previous year. All anniversary events which had been prepared in 2012 were successfully held, and the majority of the numerous files which had been acquired could be made accessible for research. The Archives of the Max Planck Society were frequently used by the Administrative Headquarters as well as the Max Planck Institutes as a service facility. First steps were taken towards ensuring digital long-time storage. more

Rare image of Super-Jupiter sheds light on planet formation

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Biller, Beth; Henning, Thomas; Brandner, Wolfgang; Feldt, Markus
An infrared imaging search with the Subaru telescope has captured a rare image of a “Super-Jupiter” around the massive star κ Andromedae. The gas giant has a mass about 13 times that of Jupiter, while the host star has a mass 2.5 times that of the Sun. There are strong indications that this planet formed in a manner similar to ordinary, lower-mass exoplanets: in a “protoplanetary disk” of gas and dust that surrounded the newborn star. This makes the planet an important test case for current models of planet formation and their predictions about planets around massive stars. more

Giant black hole could upset galaxy evolution models

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy van den Bosch, Remco; Yildirim, Akin; van de Ven, Glenn; van der Wel, Arjen
A group of astronomers led by Remco van den Bosch from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has discovered a black hole that could shake the foundations of current models of galaxy evolution. At 17 billion times the mass of the Sun, its mass is much greater than current models predict – in particular in relation to the mass of its host galaxy. This could be the most massive black hole found to date. more

Astroseimology of magnetars

Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics Gabler, Michael; Müller, Ewald; Cerdá-Durán, Pablo; Font, Antonio; Stergioulas, Nikolaos
Seismic vibrations on Earth contain information about the structure of our planet, seismic vibrations on distant stellar remnants could shed light not only on the star itself but also on the basic constituents of all matter. The objects under study: neutron stars with strong magnetic fields. The method: a new model that combines both the elastic shear vibrations of the crust and pulsations caused by the magnetic field. Current X-ray observations can only be explained by the coupled vibrations and the model even predicts how high-energy radiation is modulated by these oscillations. more
For decades, theorists have been faced with a problem: How can we explain the diverse chemical properties seen in different types of galaxies in the nearby Universe? Now, an international team of astrophysicists, led by members of the MPA, have found a single, self-consistent model that can indeed simultaneously reconcile these chemical properties. This model follows the standard hierarchical merging scenario of structure formation, and therefore shows that − at least in this respect − what we see in our Universe is what we expect. more
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