Earth’s first giant

A skull two meters long, a total body length of 17 meters, a weight of 45 tons, fins that comb the sea - what sounds like a sperm whale is actually a reptile and lived in the oceans around 250 million years ago. Now, an international team of researchers led by the Universities of Bonn and Mainz, as well as the Claremont Colleges and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, reports on this first giant animal that ever evolved. The researchers describe a new species of ichthyosaur, also called "fish-saurians" - the skeleton with the imposing skull, larger than that of Tyrannosaurus rex was excavated in the US state of Nevada. The study now proves that the ichthyosaurs evolved their impressive size within only three million years, much faster than the evolution of gigantism in today's whales. The results show how marine ecosystems can build up and respond to abiotic changes such as climate, atmosphere or water conditions. The study was published in the journal Science.

Conference on digital technologies for sustainable crop production

How can digital technologies be used for more sustainable crop production? Researchers from a wide range of disciplines are working on these questions at the Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob at the University of Bonn. At the Cluster's flagship conference, DIGICROP, experts pool their knowledge, bringing together distinguished speakers from around the world. Given the great success of DIGICROP 2020 at the end of last year, preparations are underway for the next edition of the conference, which will be held digitally from March 28 to 30, 2022. The Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob is receiving support from the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (USA). Scientists are invited to submit presentations in the form of videos by January 5.

"Heavy" hydrogen stabilizes drugs

Researchers at the University of Bonn have presented a method that allows the heavier hydrogen "brother" deuterium to be introduced specifically into many different molecules. The deuterated compounds obtained in this way are more stable against degradation by certain enzymes. Drugs produced using this method can be effective for longer, meaning they have to be taken in lower doses or less frequently. The article has now been published in the journal "Angewandte Chemie".

Out of Africa: The path of Homo sapiens

What routes did Homo sapiens take on his way from Africa to Europe and Asia in the previous millennia? The climatic conditions changed, and with them the living conditions. The advance was hampered in some places by deserts, in others by dense forests. Over the past twelve years, a team of researchers within the framework of the Collaborative Research Center 806 "Our Way to Europe" unraveled the complex interplay of cultural innovations and environment that shaped migrations. After completion of the interdisciplinary joint project, the researchers now present a book with the most important findings under the leadership of the Universities of Bonn and Cologne.

Quantum marbles in a bowl of light

Which factors determine how fast a quantum computer can perform its calculations? Physicists at the University of Bonn and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology have devised an elegant experiment to answer this question. The results of the study are published in the journal Science Advances. 

Agricultural scientist from PhenoRob Cluster of Excellence is most cited

Prof. Dr. Anne-Katrin Mahlein, co-opted professor at the University of Bonn and Director of the Institute of Sugar Beet Research (Göttingen) is the most cited author in the research field sensing and imaging of plant disease. According to a publication by the journal “Tropical Plant Pathology”, Mahlein’s research has significantly pushed this area of research forward. Overall, the University Bonn has been determined to be the most productive and most collaborative institution in the field.

Ada Lovelace Prize for Uta Seidler

In the academic year 2020/2021, the Institute for Numerical Simulation at the University of Bonn awarded the Ada Lovelace Prize to Uta Seidler. The prize for the best master's thesis is endowed with 1,000 euros and serves to promote young women in numerics. 

Stem cells organize themselves into embryoid

Researchers at the University of Bonn have developed a method to generate embryo-like cell complexes from the stem cells of mice. The method provides new insights into embryonic development. In the medium term, it might also be suitable for developing tests for substances that could be harmful to fertility. The study is published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

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