Latest Max Planck Stories

2010-05-12 13:35:00

The downside of marriage for women: the greater a wife's age gap from her husband, the lower her life expectancy Marriage is more beneficial for men than for women - at least for those who want a long life. Previous studies have shown that men with younger wives live longer. While it had long been assumed that women with younger husbands also live longer, in a new study Sven Drefahl from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, has shown that this is not...

2010-03-30 08:47:22

Max Planck scientists develop gene switch for chloroplasts in plant cells In plant cells, the cell nucleus and the mitochondria are not the only places where genes are read and translated into proteins. The organelles of photosynthesis - the chloroplasts - also have their own DNA, messenger RNA and ribosomes for forming proteins. Max Planck scientists have now discovered how to regulate the formation of proteins in the chloroplasts. They can use so-called riboswitches to switch the genes in...

2010-03-05 10:31:37

Max Planck scientists develop new strategy to play major role in research on human diseases Cells may not have a mouth, but they still need to ingest substances from the external environment. If this process - known as endocytosis - is affected, it can lead to infectious diseases or cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, Huntington's and diabetes. In cooperation with the Center for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH) at the Dresden University of Technology, scientists from...

2010-02-20 08:21:55

Göttingen-based Max Planck researcher decodes a molecular process that controls the growth of nerve cells Brain researcher Hiroshi Kawabe has discovered the workings of a process that had been completely overlooked until now, and that allows nerve cells in the brain to grow and form complex networks. The study, which has now been published in the journal Neuron, shows that an enzyme which usually controls the destruction of protein components has an unexpected function in nerve cells: it...

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...

2009-09-17 07:39:27

The European Space Agency says it has completed a two-week first light assessment of its Planck space observatory and found data quality to be excellent. Plank, a microwave observatory, is designed to study the early universe and will make two full sky surveys, the first of which is expected to be completed in six months, the ESA said. The spacecraft has a mission life expectancy of 15 months, with the data it provides expected to keep both cosmologists and astrophysicists busy for decades....

2009-08-21 11:23:16

People really do walk in circles when they don't have visual cues to tell them where to head, scientists in Germany said. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tubingen examined the routes of people who walked for several hours in Tunisia's Sahara desert and Germany's Bienwald forest. Using global positioning systems to record the trajectories, scientists found the walkers were only able to keep to a straight path when the moon or sun was visible. As soon as the...

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...

2009-08-21 06:15:00

New European research using global positioning software finds that walking in circles when lost may not be simply a clich©. The scientists presented the first empirical evidence that people do indeed walk in circles when they lack reliable cues to their direction. Researchers in the Multi-sensory Perception and Action Group at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tbingen examined the walking trajectories of people who walked for several hours in the Sahara desert in...

2009-08-14 10:05:10

Max Planck scientists develop model to improve computer language recognitionMany people will have personal experience of how difficult it is for computers to deal with spoken language. For example, people who 'communicate' with automated telephone systems now commonly used by many organizations need a great deal of patience. If you speak just a little too quickly or slowly, if your pronunciation isn't clear, or if there is background noise, the system often fails to work properly. The reason...

Word of the Day
  • An evil spirit; a devil.
  • A nightmare.
  • In astrology, the twelfth house of a scheme or figure of the heavens: so called from its signifying dreadful things, such as secret enemies, great losses, imprisonment, etc.
'Cacodemon' comes from a Greek term meaning 'evil genius.'