Academic World News

Electronic music with a human rhythm

Electronically generated rhythms are often perceived as too artificial. New software now allows producers to make rhythms sound more natural in computer-produced music. Research at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and at Harvard University forms the basis for new and patented methods of electronically generated rhythms according to patterns of musicians following fractal statistical laws.

The cultural evolution of collective property rights

Common pool resources comprise around 65 percent of Earth's surface and vast tracts of the ocean. While examples of successful governance of these resources exist, the circumstances and mechanisms behind their development have remained unclear. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have developed a simulation model to examine the emergence, stability and temporal dynamics of collective property rights.

Schema therapy is effective for treating severe depression

In an uniquely extensive study, researchers were able to demonstrate the clinical benefits of schema therapy in the context of inpatient treatment. This therapy is therefore a promising alternative for the treatment of severe depression.

“It’s a challenge we need to be tackling right now”

Positive developments in the representation of female scientists across various stages of scientific careers The Max Planck Society’s Voluntary Commitment (SVP) aims to achieve two primary objectives: increasing the representation of female scientists in leadership positions by one percentage point annually until 2030 and ensuring that each Max Planck Institute has at least one female […]

Cells inherit protection from sunburn

UV radiation in the sunlight causes sunburn and increases the risk of skin cancer by damaging our DNA but also our RNA. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, have now unveiled a cellular shield that protect cells from the harmful effects of damaged RNA caused by ultraviolet radiation.

Can we read minds spontaneously?

One of the most important human abilities is to understand what other people are thinking. The perspective of others seems to influence us even when it is completely irrelevant to us. Katrin Rothmaler and Charlotte Grosse Wiesmann from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig (MPI CBS) have now investigated in a study to what extent the perspective of others actually influences our thinking subliminally.

Learning from conspecifics

Chimpanzees that are unable to figure out a complex puzzle on their own, are capable of learning the solution from other chimps that were trained to solve it. This is the conclusion reached by an international research team from Utrecht University, the University of St Andrews and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology as part of a study conducted with groups of chimpanzees in Zambia.

Symbiotic fungi produce attractants for bark beetles

In a new study, an international research team led by the researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology demonstrates that the European spruce bark beetle Ips typographus uses volatile fungal metabolites of plant defense substances as important chemical signals in their attack on spruce trees. The researchers also show that the insects have olfactory sensory neurons specialized for detecting these volatile compounds. The fungal metabolites likely provide important clues to the beetles about the presence of beneficial fungi, the defense status of the trees, and the population density of their conspecifics.

The dance of supermassive black holes

A long-term study with data from four telescopes, ranging from radio to high energy frequencies, has penetrated to the core of the much-discussed active galaxy OJ 287, revealing further details about its interior. The results of the international team, led by Stefanie Komossa of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, strengthen the evidence for a binary black hole system and place the primary black hole back on the scale.

Seabirds in the eye of the storm

Hurricanes are becoming more intense due to the climate crisis. Therefore, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany and Swansea University in the United Kingdom have studied the wind speeds that different seabird species can withstand. The team was able to show that the individual species are well adapted to the average wind conditions in their breeding grounds, but use different strategies to avoid flying through the storm. Within their research, one behavior of the albatrosses particularly surprised the scientists.

Distant cradles of stars

The first images of the James Webb Space Telescope are helping to uncover the missing pieces of the star formation puzzle in nearby galaxies. Data from the powerful infrared telescope are revealing previously hidden regions where new stars are born. These images provide the first clues as to how networks of gas and dust become the site of active star formation.

Ice age survivors

With the largest dataset of prehistoric European hunter-gatherer genomes ever generated, an international research team has rewritten the genetic history of our ancestors. This study was led by researchers from the University of Tübingen and the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, Peking University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, in collaboration with 125 international scientists.