The Universities of Bonn and Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich found joint center for geoscience

The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich have founded a joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC). This creates a high-profile international focal point in the Rhineland for global Earth system observation with the aim of making strides toward a comprehensive understanding of our planet and better predicting changes.

"Immortal" in tree resin

The phenomenon of using DNA from old fossils preserved in amber already inspired Hollywood – in the film Jurassic Park, scientists reproduce the DNA of dinosaurs extracted from a fossil mosquito embedded in a piece of amber and thereby resurrect them. In reality, however, the undertaking is much more difficult: all previous studies in which researchers took DNA samples from insects enclosed in tree resin were the results of modern environmental contamination and, in addition, were unreproducible, subsequently useless under the scientific method. An international team led by researchers at the University of Bonn now detected DNA from ambrosia beetles that were trapped in recent tree resin for less than seven years. The study was published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

From pandemic shock to recession

The pandemic-related restrictions on economic activity resulted in a massive reduction in working hours in March and April 2020. Only the key professions and those jobs that could be done from home were largely spared. Once the strict corona rules were relaxed, the sectors that were particularly affected recovered relatively quickly, while other sectors recorded a significant drop in hours. This is shown in a new study based on Dutch data conducted by economists of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute, a joint initiative of the universities of Bonn and Cologne, and the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

Nerve cells let others "listen in"

How many "listeners" a nerve cell has in the brain is strictly regulated. This is shown by an international study led by the University College London and the universities of Bonn, Bordeaux and Milton Keynes (England). In the environment of learning neurons, certain processes are set in motion that make signal transmission less exclusive. The results have now been published in the journal Neuron.

New method allows precise gene control by light

A novel optical switch makes it possible to precisely control the lifespan of genetic "copies". These are used by the cell as building instructions for the production of proteins. The method was developed by researchers from the universities of Bonn and Bayreuth. It may significantly advance the investigation of dynamic processes in living cells. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Flood risks: More accurate data due to Covid-19

Emerging use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) makes it possible to continuously measure shallow changes in elevation of Earth surface. A study by the University of Bonn now shows that the quality of these measurements may have improved significantly during the pandemic, at least at some stations. The results show which factors should be considered in the future when installing GPS antennas. More precise geodetic data are important for assessing flood risks and for improving earthquake early warning systems. The journal "Geophysical Research Letters" now reports on this.

How language defines dependency relationships

How do asymmetrical dependencies and slavery manifest in language, narratives and lexical fields? Scholars of the Cluster of Excellence "Beyond Slavery and Freedom", located at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies at the University of Bonn, worked intensively on this question in their first thematic year, which will culminate with a discussion of their research on October 1 and 2, 2020 at the annual international conference of the Cluster of Excellence. Due to the corona pandemic, the papers will be delivered digitally.

Support for families at the University of Bonn facing pandemic-related hardship

The University of Bonn offers University members with childcare responsibilities financial aid and relief during the coronavirus pandemic through means such as employing assistant personnel.

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