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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

2009-08-20 11:35:00

A newly discovered signaling pathway ensures that plants remember to flower -- even without positive signals from the environmentWhy do some plants blossom even when days are short and gray? Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology have found the answer to this question: An endogenous mechanism allows them to flower in the absence of external influences such as long days. A small piece of RNA, a so-called microRNA, has a central role in this process, as a decline of...

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2009-08-03 19:35:00

A longstanding and fruitful collaboration between researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, together with contributions from colleagues in Munich and the US, has produced another first: the successful manipulation of a crop plant to emit a signal that attracts beneficial organisms. Genetic transformation of maize plants resulted in the release of the naturally active substance (E)-beta-caryophyllene from...