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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

907fcd1d3f470aca69a2565d4ad90e041
2010-01-17 13:55:00

Göttingen scientists develop an autonomous walking robot that flexibly switches between many different gaits by using "chaos control" Even simple insects can generate quite different movement patterns with their six legs. The animal uses various gaits depending on whether it crawls uphill or downhill, slowly or fast. Scientists from Göttingen have now developed a walking robot, which - depending on the situation - can flexibly and autonomously switch between different gaits. The...

8188cc41554ddfc15593a3d9c749b824
2010-01-01 11:38:35

US-German team measures how quickly genomes change Mutations are the raw material of evolution. Charles Darwin already recognized that evolution depends on heritable differences between individuals: those who are better adapted to the environment have better chances to pass on their genes to the next generation. A species can only evolve if the genome changes through new mutations, with the best new variants surviving the sieve of selection. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for...

20b7288ebe651db0e27e44276d2de33d1
2009-12-23 09:20:00

A team of researchers from the University of Girona and the Max Planck Institute in Germany has shown that some mathematical algorithms provide clues about the artistic style of a painting. The composition of colors or certain aesthetic measurements can already be quantified by a computer, but machines are still far from being able to interpret art in the way that people do. How does one place an artwork in a particular artistic period? This is the question raised by scientists from the...

efb981dc2467a861d5e7ea02b186658f
2009-12-03 13:20:00

First finding as part of new research collaboration An international team of scientists that includes an astronomer from Princeton University has made the first direct observation of a planet-like object orbiting a star similar to the sun. The finding marks the first discovery made with the world's newest planet-hunting instrument on the Hawaii-based Subaru Telescope and is the first fruit of a novel research collaboration announced by the University in January. The object, known as GJ 758 B,...

3553d2dffd6e124edd37108b27d290ea
2009-12-03 12:00:05

Not only in the Earth's mantle, in the atmosphere and in the outer layers of the Sun, but also in a chemical reactor, the exchange of heat may not be as effective as originally thought. There, because warm fluid rises and hence induces movement, the turbulent convection can be 100 billion times stronger than in the typical cooking pot. Hot fluids mix turbulently with warm fluids. As the temperature difference between the cold and warm sides increases, the heat transport increases...

b0c3b9badb64626590d69196d4f3e2f51
2009-11-23 09:31:34

Information field theory enables astronomers, medical practitioners and geologists to look into places where their measuring instruments are blind A bit of imagination on the part of a measuring instrument wouldn't be a bad thing. It could help to add data from areas where the instrument is unable to measure. However, it must do so constructively. In order to infer missing data in an astronomical measurement with more than just imagination, physicists at the Max Planck Institute for...

463b4c74ddfa94a6509807cc948239b71
2009-11-17 09:59:56

In order to effectively fight pathogens, even at remote areas of the human body, immune cells have to move quickly and in a flexible manner Scientists from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, have now deciphered the mechanism that illustrates how these mobile cells move on diverse surfaces. "Similar to a car, these cells have an engine, a clutch and wheels which provide the necessary friction," explains Michael Sixt, a research group leader at...

380015743bd3c397e0bf6bafd4c8a187
2009-11-11 10:41:47

The Sun is a bubbling mass. Packages of gas rise and sink, lending the sun its grainy surface structure, its granulation. Dark spots appear and disappear, clouds of matter dart up - and behind the whole thing are the magnetic fields, the engines of it all. The SUNRISE balloon-borne telescope, a collaborative project between the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau and partners in Germany, Spain and the USA, has now delivered images that show the complex...

399247cf51ca4ad36a5968b8bf07eb4d
2009-11-05 07:55:18

Scientists observe the emergence of a new adaptation strategy to rapidly changing environmental conditions Organisms ensure the survival of their species by genetically adapting to the environment. If environmental conditions change too rapidly, the extinction of a species may be the consequence. A strategy to successfully cope with such a challenge is the generation of variable offspring that can survive in different environments. Even though a portion of the offspring may have a decreased...

ac3361f0d2e1539920949b1e5177ace2
2009-10-06 14:07:21

A knowledge gap exists in the area of climate research: for decades, scientists have been asking themselves whether, and to what extent man-made aerosols, that is, dust particles suspended in the atmosphere, enlarge the cloud cover and thus curb climate warming. Research has made little or no progress on this issue. Two scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg (MPI-M) and the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report in the journal...


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