Podcast: How museums can dismantle colonial perceptions. With Prof. 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.

Restrict Use of “Tipp-Ex Proteins”

Plants have special corrective molecules at their disposal that can make retrospective modifications to copies of genes. However, it would appear that these “Tipp-Ex proteins” do not have permission to work in all areas of the cell, only being used in chloroplasts and mitochondria. A study by the University of Bonn has now explained why this is the case. It suggests that the correction mechanism would otherwise modify copies that have nothing wrong with them, with fatal consequences for the cell. The findings have now been published in “The Plant Journal.”

Sustainability Day 2024 wows University of Bonn students and staff

Less waste generated by the trauma surgery team at the University Hospital, more vegetarian and vegan food in the canteens, research into ultra-resource-efficient products—the Sustainability Day 2024 showcased everything that the University of Bonn is doing to aid the environmental transformation. Students and staff had taken up Team N’s invitation in their droves and came to find out more about sustainability-related initiatives. Besides a wealth of information on the topic, the over 20 stalls set out on the Poppelsdorf Campus also provided a range of hands-on activities that made one thing clear above all else: sustainability is fun!

Healthy Diets for People and the Planet

Our diet puts a strain on planetary resources. Shifting to a sustainable diet that benefits both our health and that of the planet is therefore assuming increasing importance. Researchers at the University of Bonn have analyzed the diets of children and adolescents in terms of their contribution to the ecological sustainability indicators of greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water use. The study shows that there is both the potential and a need to make the diet of younger generations more sustainable. The study will be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; it is already available online.

International research team cracks a hard physics problem

Strongly interacting systems play an important role in quantum physics and quantum chemistry. Stochastic methods such as Monte Carlo simulations are a proven method for investigating such systems. However, these methods reach their limits when so-called sign oscillations occur. This problem has now been solved by an international team of researchers from Germany, Turkey, the USA, China, South Korea and France using the new method of wavefunction matching. As an example, the masses and radii of all nuclei up to mass number 50 were calculated using this method. The results agree with the measurements, the researchers now report in the journal “Nature”.

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