Bessel Research Prize for Ofer Firstenberg

Prof. Dr. Ofer Firstenberg from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, has been awarded a Bessel Research Prize by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award, which is endowed with 45,000 euros, is considered an outstanding honor, especially for younger scientists, and is awarded to scientists abroad. 

International Conference on “Commodore 64”

The 8-bit Commodore 64 home computer—affectionately known by its fans as the “bread box” because of its shape—came out in 1982 and is one of the best-selling computing platforms in IT history. The Commodore’s impact on pop culture, technological development and computer science education lives on in the present day. The University of Bonn’s Media Studies section will be hosting an international conference to discuss the past, present and future of the Commodore 64, on Friday and Saturday, July 5–6. Professor Jens Schröter, University of Bonn Chair of Media Theory, and his colleague Professor Stefan Höltgen of SRH University Heidelberg, have invited experts from media studies, computer science, museology, musicology and cultural studies to speak, as well as historical computer collectors and hackers to the conference in Bonn. The event will be held in English.

Euclid delivers first scientific results

Today, the Euclid Consortium publishes the first scientific publications on observations with the Euclid space telescope. In a first early observation phase, some scientifically spectacular results have already been achieved. These give a glimpse of the unprecedented capabilities of the telescope, which is expected to produce over the next few years one of the most accurate maps of the evolution of our Universe. All fifteen publications will be available on the arXiv preprint server from tomorrow on. Once the peer review process is complete, they will also appear in a special issue of the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics.”

Podcast: How museums are still perpetuating colonialist notions today. With Dr. Julia Binter

Junior Professor Dr Julia Binter investigates cooperative research on cultural assets from colonial contexts in museums. She accompanies the restitution of cultural assets from Germany to Namibia with the question: How can knowledge creation in museums and cultural heritage be made more sustainable and fair? German colonial history still characterises our understanding of Namibian art today. The returned cultural artefacts tell their own story.
We also spoke to an expert from Namibia, Golda Ha-Eiros, who impressively explains the value of these cultural artefacts for her ancestors, for herself and for the next generation.

Roots are a key to drought-tolerant maize

Maize can grow successfully in very different local conditions. An international study headed by the University of Bonn has now demonstrated the important role of the plant root system. The researchers analyzed more than 9,000 varieties in the study and were able to show that their roots varied considerably – depending on how dry the location is where each variety was cultivated. They were also able to identify an important gene that plays a role in the plant’s ability to adapt. This gene could be the key to developing varieties of maize that cope better with climate change. The results were recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.

Can oxytocin help against loneliness?

Loneliness is not a disease. And yet it is a significant health problem. Depression, heart disease or dementia - people who are permanently lonely have a higher risk of becoming ill. The team led by Dr. Jana Lieberz from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), who also conducts research at the University of Bonn, and Prof. Dr. Dirk Scheele (Ruhr University Bochum) have investigated how loneliness can be specifically combated. In a controlled study, in which the universities of Oldenburg, Bochum, Freiburg and Haifa (Israel) were also involved, 78 women and men who felt lonely were given the so-called "cuddle hormone" oxytocin as a nasal spray. The effects that the researchers observed could help to alleviate loneliness and its potentially serious consequences in the future. 

Participation in Gaming. A podcast on accessibility, featuring Professor Dr. Adrian Hermann

Accessibility is clearly an issue of increasing importance. Lowered curbs, for example, will make it easier for moms and dads out with a stroller to get around in the city. That also applies to individuals who depend on a wheelchair for mobility. Voice command is another useful technology, which helps blind people, for example, use a smartphone. I can also use speech-to-text technology to dictate a text message, while driving a car, for example.

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