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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

2012-04-25 11:49:48

Newly developed analytic device 'Flywalk' allows accurate studies of insect behavior to be made In collaboration with colleagues from Portugal and Spain, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have developed an apparatus that automatically applies odors to an airstream, while filming and analyzing the behavior of insects simultaneously. The system is called Flywalk and consists of glass tubes, airstream regulators, and a video camera. The reactions...

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2012-03-29 07:28:38

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III)  announced the most accurate measurements yet of the distances to galaxies in the faraway universe, giving an unprecedented look at the time when the universe first began to expand at an ever-increasing rate. Scientists from the University of Portsmouth and the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics will present the new results in a press conference at 10:00 BST on Friday, March 30th at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester....

Cluster Of Stars Survived Massacre 13 Billion Years Ago
2012-02-14 13:37:27

Astronomers have found a cluster of stars that they say survived a massacre 13 billion years ago. The team used computer simulations to look at how the compact groups of stars surrounding our Milky Way galaxy were formed. There are about 200 compact groups sitting close to our galaxy, each containing up to a million stars. The researchers ran simulations of isolated and colliding galaxies, in which they included a model for formation and destruction of stellar clusters. Once a...

Image 1 - Scientists Chart High-Precision Map Of Milky Way's Magnetic Fields
2012-02-04 04:20:03

Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory are part of an international team that has pooled their radio observations into a database, producing the highest precision map to date of the magnetic field within our own Milky Way galaxy. The team, led by the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), used the database they created and were able to apply information theory techniques to produce the map, explains NRL's Dr. Tracy Clarke, a member of the research team. "The key to applying...

Millisecond Pulsars: The Discovery Of Deceleration
2012-02-03 08:16:23

Stellar astrophysics helps to explain the behavior of fast rotating neutron stars in binary systems Pulsars are among the most exotic celestial bodies known. They have diameters of about 20 kilometers, but at the same time roughly the mass of our sun. A sugar-cube sized piece of its ultra-compact matter on the Earth would weigh hundreds of millions of tons. A sub-class of them, known as millisecond pulsars, spin up to several hundred times per second around their own axes. Previous...

2012-02-02 22:44:50

Using virus vector-mediated RNAi enables scientists to rapidly study the function of insect genes More than 200,000 insects species are herbivores. They depend on plants for food and have adapted their metabolism accordingly in the course of evolution to render plant defenses, such as the toxins plants produce to fend off herbivores, ineffective. The operating instructions of these detoxification processes are coded in different genes. Insects have evolved an enormous diversity of...

2012-02-01 16:26:23

Max Planck scientists analysing the release of genetically modified insects into the environment have found that the available scientific information can be misleading While genetically modified plants have already been introduced into the wild on a large scale in some parts of the world, the release of genetically modified animals is still at a relatively early stage. A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany has now...

2012-01-23 22:29:14

Defective proteins that are not disposed of by the body can cause diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry recently succeeded in revealing the structure of the cellular protein degradation machinery (26S proteasome) by combining different methods of structural biology. The results of collaboration with colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH...

Did Sumerians Really Produce Beer?
2012-01-18 05:57:08

Even though there is evidence of Ancient Sumerians having the ingredients to make beer - barley, malt and emmer (a type of wheat) - there is no textual evidence of the processes used to make the mysterious brew. Peter Damerow (1939-2011), a historian of science and cuneiform writing from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, examined the beer brewing technologies of the Sumerians in a scholarly paper, casting doubt on the myth that what they brewed was even beer....

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2011-12-31 08:50:05

Chimpanzees might be able to determine whether or not their fellow chimps need to hear a specific message, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology. According to Guardian Science Correspondent Ian Sample, researchers from the University of St. Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda, observed the creatures selectively sounding a warning call, apparently based on whether or not they...