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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

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2011-12-05 06:34:47

Inhaling streams of electrically charged gas known as cold plasma could help cure the common cold, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany are claiming. According to a December 4 report by the Deccan Chronicle, an English-language publication in India, the scientists say that they have discovered that a stream of the ionized gas "deactivates" virus, including those that cause colds. In fact, when those viruses were exposed to cold plasma for...

Ravens Use Gestures To Signal Potential Partners
2011-11-30 06:37:06

Ravens use their beaks and wings to point and hold up objects in order to attract attention, much like humans use our hands to make gestures, according to a new study by German and Austrian experts. The study is the first time researchers have observed such gestures in the wild by animals other than primates, suggesting that ravens (Corvus corax) may be far more intelligent than previously believed. Simone Pika from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and Thomas Bugnyar from the...

Image 1 - So That's What Dreams Are Made Of
2011-10-28 10:54:01

Scientists measure dream content for the first time and find that dreams activate the brain in a similar way to real actions. The ability to dream is a fascinating aspect of the human mind. However, how the images and emotions that we experience so intensively when we dream form in our heads remains a mystery. Up to now it has not been possible to measure dream content. Max Planck scientists working with colleagues from the Charité hospital in Berlin have now succeeded, for...

2011-10-18 13:14:01

Ciliary beating of Platynereis gives insights into an ancestral state of nervous system evolution As planktonic organisms the larvae of the marine annelid Platynereis swim freely in the open water. They move by activity of their cilia, thousands of tiny hair-like structures forming a band along the larval body and beating coordinately. With changing environmental conditions the larvae swim upward and downward to their appropriate water depth. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for...

Image 1 - New Evolutionary Link Between Australopiths And Humans
2011-09-09 10:51:52

  [ View Video] New analysis of two-million-year-old hominid bones found in South Africa provide the clearest evidence of evolution´s first major step toward modern humans, evidence that is leading some experts to believe the findings will change longstanding views on the origins of humans. The well-preserved bones, from Australopithecus sediba, are from a part-human, part-ape species that have never been seen before now. The hands are similar to man, it has sophisticated...

2011-09-07 14:01:50

Feedback mechanism coordinates cellular respiration and the degradation of free oxygen radicals Oxygen-consuming organisms obtain energy through cellular respiration, which is the transformation of carbohydrates and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water. This process also produces toxic oxygen radicals which must be decomposed immediately, as they would otherwise cause damage to cells. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have now discovered a mechanism,...

2011-09-01 12:49:48

Max Planck researchers analyze the structure of an iron storage protein Microbes are omnipresent on earth. They are found as free-living microorganisms as well as in communities with other higher organisms. Thanks to modern biological techniques we are now able to address the complex communities and study the role of individual microorganisms and enzymes in more detail. Microbacterium arborescens is a bacterium, which can be found in the guts of herbivorous caterpillars. The Department...

A New Atlas Of The Milky Way
2011-08-31 07:49:27

  Sino-German research group draws a new map at the Urumqi radio telescope and discovers two supernova remnants It may not be much use to hitchhikers through the galaxy, but it is extremely valuable to astronomers: the new radio atlas of the Milky Way. After almost ten years of work, researchers at the Max Planck Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have completed their investigation into the polarized radio emission in the galactic plane. The atlas is based on observations...

2011-08-29 12:09:00

Thanks to its flexible genome the plant can adapt to various environmental conditions People can develop new technologies and animals may migrate to other regions. However, plants are tied to their location. Nevertheless, they have found ways to ensure their survival. This is the case for the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is found throughout the entire northern hemisphere. But how does this small, inconspicuous plant deal with all these different extremes? In order to discover the...

space-082411-004
2011-08-24 15:03:54

  A team of scientists at Germany´s Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy has discovered a potentially habitable planet about 3.6 times as massive of Earth orbiting the star HD 85512, roughly 36.23 light years away (one light year is equivalent to roughly 5.9 trillion miles). Dan Vergano of USA Today reports that the discovery, led by the institute´s Lisa Kaltenegger, adds to the 572 planets orbiting nearby stars listed by the Extrasolar Planets Catalogue. Astronomers around...