Researchers “film” novel catalyst at work

A novel catalysis scheme enables chemical reactions that were previously virtually impossible. The method developed at the University of Bonn is also environmentally friendly and does not require rare and precious metals. The researchers recorded the exact course of the catalysis in a kind of high-speed film. They did this using special lasers that can make processes visible that last only fractions of a billionth of a second. The results allow them to further optimize the catalyst. They have been published in the international edition of the renowned journal “Angewandte Chemie.”

Measuring the Extent of Global Droughts in Unprecedented Detail

While some parts of the world suffer extreme heat and persistent drought, others are being flooded. Overall, continental water volumes vary so much over time that global sea levels fluctuate significantly too. By combining the hydrological model WaterGAP with GRACE satellite data, a team of geodesists at the University of Bonn have come up with a new set of data that shows how the total distribution of water over the Earth’s land surfaces has changed over the past 20 years more accurately than ever before. Their findings are now being published in the “Journal of Geodesy.”

Fourth place in worldwide mathematics competition in Bulgaria

At this year's International Mathematics Competition for University Students (IMC) in Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria), the team of the University of Bonn achieved 4th place. Lennart Christian Grabbel even achieved an outstanding second place in the individual ranking among almost 400 participants with a score of 80 out of 100 possible points and received a so-called "Grand Grand First Prize" the highest possible award. 

Euclid space telescope catches its first glimpse

Euclid, ESA’s newest space telescope with strong German participation, has delivered its first test images a few weeks after the rocket launch. They already show excellent image quality. Scientists from the Argelander Institute for Astronomy are involved in the mission. 

New World Record: Thinnest Ever Pixel Detector Installed

The Belle II cooperation project at the Japanese research center KEK is helping researchers from all over the world to hunt for new phenomena in particle physics. The international experiment has now reached a major milestone after a team successfully installed a new pixel detector in its final location in Japan. The size of a soda can, the detector was developed in order to make out the signals coming from certain types of particle decays, that can shed light on the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry that has been observed in the universe. The installation ran without a hitch and is a key milestone in the evolution of the experiment and German-Japanese research collaboration.

Real Estate Prices in Germany stabilize

The downward trend for real estate prices in Germany was partially halted in the second quarter of 2023. Compared with the first quarter of 2023, many prices are even rising slightly again, although there is still a significant drop compared with the previous year and the peaks. This is shown by the latest update of the German Real Estate Index (GREIX), a project of ECONtribute and IfW Kiel, which evaluates the actual sales prices of German real estate according to the latest scientific standards. All data for currently 18 German cities and their districts are freely available at

Effect in the quantum world: When electrons slowly vanish during cooling

Many substances change their properties when they are cooled below a certain critical temperature. Such a phase transition occurs, for example, when water freezes. However, in certain metals there are phase transitions that do not exist in the macrocosm. They arise because of the special laws of quantum mechanics that apply in the realm of nature’s smallest building blocks. It is thought that the concept of electrons as carriers of quantized electric charge no longer applies near these exotic phase transitions. Researchers at the University of Bonn and ETH Zurich have now found a way to prove this directly. Their findings allow new insights into the exotic world of quantum physics. The publication has now been released in the journal Nature Physics.

What do peacock’s feathers have to do with test scores in education?

How can we assess what students learn? Test scores of standardized examinations are designed to quantify student knowledge. But what if education starts revolving around the test-scores themselves, rather than what these were originally designed to measure? Indicators are proxy measures, intended to capture some complex underlying reality. But if the measure becomes a target, then this can lead to distortions. The ubiquity of this phenomenon was studied by Yohan J. John from Boston University, Leigh Caldwell from the Irrational Agency in London and Dakota E. McCoy from Stanford University. Oliver Braganza from the University of Bonn is the last author. He answered our questions. 

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