Strong Showing for the University of Bonn

The University of Bonn did very well in the QS World University rankings released yesterday, being amongst the top 100 worldwide in roughly a third of the ranked Subjects. Mathematics is again our highest-ranking subject (41st internationally, 1st in Germany).

Navigation software supports kidney research

Many kidney diseases are manifested by protein in the urine. However, until now it was not possible to determine whether the protein excretion is caused by only a few, but severely damaged, or by many moderately damaged of the millions of small kidney filters, known as glomeruli. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn, in cooperation with mathematicians from the University of Bonn, have developed a new computer method to clarify this question experimentally. The results of their work have now been published as an article in press in the leading kidney research journal "Kidney International".

Do some mysterious bones belong to gigantic ichthyosaurs?

Several similar large, fossilized bone fragments have been discovered in various regions across Western and Central Europe since the 19th century. The animal group to which they belonged is still the subject of much debate to this day. A study carried out at the University of Bonn could now settle this dispute once and for all: The microstructure of the fossils indicates that they come from the lower jaw of a gigantic ichthyosaur. These animals could reach 25 to 30 meters in length, a similar size to the modern blue whale. The results have now been published in the journal PeerJ.

Nudging in a virtual supermarket for more animal welfare

It may be possible to change the purchasing behavior of consumers noticeably using some simple strategies. At least this is what a study, carried out by the University of Bonn and the Technical University of Munich, indicates. The researchers investigated the effect of nudging on the sale of products produced with high animal welfare standards in a virtual supermarket. Nudges are gentle prods or pushes designed to promote certain behaviors – such as placing some products in more visible positions. In the experiment, the participants in the nudging group selected products produced with high animal welfare standards about twice as frequently as the control group. The extent to which these results can be transferred to real purchasing decisions is still unclear. The study has now been published in the journal “Appetite.”

Borders Are Arbitrary, but Inviolable

Everyone has the right to visit and reside in a foreign country: thus a central aspect of Immanuel Kant’s doctrine of global citizenship. In this interview, Professor Christoph Horn (University of Bonn) from the Digital Kant Center NRW explains Kant’s view of migration, why he considered the drawing of borders to be arbitrary, and the contemporary relevance of this doctrine.


Research Studying Research

In what ways do evaluation and reward systems influence the conduct and results of research studies? This is the question addressed by Dr. Oliver Braganza of the University of Bonn and University Hospital Bonn, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utrecht, the University of Duisburg-Essen and colleagues from the University of Bonn. Titled “The cultural evolution of scientific practice—from simulation to experimentation,” the project is to receive around 1.8 million euros in funding from the Volkswagen Foundation over the next four years.

Fossils Permit Glimpse into the Future

In what is an intriguing mix of past and future, an international team of researchers, including some from the University of Bonn, has stumbled upon a surprising window to the past in Kourou in French Guiana. In the clay underneath the new launch pad for the forthcoming Ariane 6 launch vehicle, the interdisciplinary team has uncovered a remarkable collection of fossils stretching back 130,000 years. Covering over 270 species in total, including bony fish, sharks and numerous plants, they reflect the kind of climatic conditions that calculations suggest are set to reoccur in the year 2100. The team’s findings have now been published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.”

Don Zagier Awarded Germany’s Biggest Mathematics Prize

The Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung is to present the Heinz Gumin Prize for Mathematics to Don Zagier, who was a director of the Bonn-based Max Planck Institute for Mathematics until 2019 and has strong ties to the University of Bonn. The foundation is thus honoring his pioneering research into number theory and the theory of modular forms. The Gumin Prize is worth €50,000, making it the most generous award for mathematics in Germany. 

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