A new state of light

A single "super photon" made up of many thousands of individual light particles: About ten years ago, researchers at the University of Bonn produced such an extreme aggregate state for the first time and presented a completely new light source. The state is called optical Bose-Einstein condensate and has captivated many physicists ever since, because this exotic world of light particles is home to its very own physical phenomena. Researchers led by Prof. Dr. Martin Weitz, who discovered the super photon, and theoretical physicist Prof. Dr. Johann Kroha have returned from their latest "expedition" into the quantum world with a very special observation. They report of a new, previously unknown phase transition in the optical Bose-Einstein condensate. This is a so-called overdamped phase. The results may in the long term be relevant for encrypted quantum communication. The study has been published in the journal Science. STRICTLY EMBARGOED: Do not publish until 2:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time Thursday, 1 April!

László Lovász was awarded the Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2021 to Prof. Dr. László Lovász from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and Avi Wigderson from the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics. Lovász is an honorary professor and a valued colleague at the Research Institute for Discrete Mathematics.

Molecule attacks coronavirus in a novel way

Scientists at the University of Bonn and the caesar research center have isolated a molecule that might open new avenues in the fight against SARS coronavirus 2. The active ingredient binds to the spike protein that the virus uses to dock to the cells it infects. This prevents them from entering the respective cell, at least in the case of model viruses. It appears to do this by using a different mechanism than previously known inhibitors. The researchers therefore suspect that it may also help against viral mutations. The study will be published in the journal "Angewandte Chemie" but is already available online.

Discrete Mathematics for Green Route Planning

How can parcels and freight be delivered in a more resource-saving and sustainable way? Since 2017, the University of Bonn and the Deutsche Post DHL Group cooperate in the area of route planning. The Research Institute for Discrete Mathematics has developed an algorithm that exploits the considerable optimization potential and is already being used successfully in practice. Therefore, the Deutsche Post DHL has founded the subsidiary company Greenplan that aims at using the algorithm for a wide variety of applications. The cooperation will now be continued for an unlimited period.

First Argelander professorship filled at the University of Bonn

How can different actors make joint decisions when they have different information or face uncertainties? This and other questions are tackled by mathematician and theoretical economist Dr. Florian Brandl, who will take up an Argelander Professorship at the University of Bonn on April 1 and at the same time start as a Bonn Junior Fellow at the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics. He is the first researcher to hold such a professorship, as these are new positions created by the University of Bonn for outstanding up-and-coming professors who distinguish themselves by combining different disciplines. In Florian Brandl's research, these are mathematics, economics and computer science.

Paleontology: Microscope helps with dinosaur puzzle

Fossil sites sometimes resemble a living room table on which half a dozen different jigsaw puzzles have been dumped: It is often difficult to say which bone belongs to which animal. Together with colleagues from Switzerland, researchers from the University of Bonn have now presented a method that allows a more certain answer to this question. Their results are published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica.

When memory qubits and photons get entangled

Encrypting data in a way that ensures secure communication is an ever-growing challenge because crucial components of today's encryption systems cannot withstand future quantum computers. Researchers around the world are therefore working on technologies for novel encryption methods that are also based on quantum effects. The phenomenon of so-called quantum entanglement plays a particularly important role here. This means that in a quantum network, the stationary qubits of the network are entangled with the communication channel, which usually consists of photons (light particles). For the first time, physicists at the University of Bonn have now been able to demonstrate quantum entanglement between a stationary qubit, i.e. a two-state quantum system, and a photon with direct coupling to an optical fiber. The study has been published in the journal "npj Quantum Information".

University Electoral Assembly confirms new Rectorate

The Electoral Assembly of the University of Bonn has elected four female and zwo male vice rectors who will take office in May 2021. The Assembly, consisting of members of the Senate and the University Council, convened online due to the pandemic. Voting took place by postal ballot.

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