Press releases
New Collaborative Research Center at the University of Bonn

The new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "NuMeriQS: Numerical Methods for Dynamics and Structure Formation in Quantum Systems" aims to advance the understanding of dynamics and structure formation in quantum systems. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up the CRC at the University of Bonn to strengthen cutting-edge research. Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung are also involved. The start is planned for April 2024. Over the next three years and nine months, around eight million euros will flow into the research network. The Transdisciplinary Research Area "Matter" at the University of Bonn supported the creation of the CRC.

Measuring the Extent of Global Droughts in Unprecedented Detail

While some parts of the world suffer extreme heat and persistent drought, others are being flooded. Overall, continental water volumes vary so much over time that global sea levels fluctuate significantly too. By combining the hydrological model WaterGAP with GRACE satellite data, a team of geodesists at the University of Bonn have come up with a new set of data that shows how the total distribution of water over the Earth’s land surfaces has changed over the past 20 years more accurately than ever before. Their findings are now being published in the “Journal of Geodesy.”

First-Ever “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize Awarded

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schultz from the Institute for Computer Science II at the University of Bonn and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Theodor Rüber from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn are the first winners of the “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize, which is presented by the Modelling and Life & Health Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) at the University of Bonn. The €120,000 award funds highly innovative research projects at the interface between mathematics or computer science on the one hand and the topics covered by the TRA Life & Health on the other.

Simulation provides images from the carbon nucleus

What does the inside of a carbon atom’s nucleus look like? A new study by Forschungszentrum Jülich, Michigan State University (USA) and the University of Bonn provides the first comprehensive answer to this question. In the study, the researchers simulated all known energy states of the nucleus. These include the puzzling Hoyle state. If it did not exist, carbon and oxygen would only be present in the universe in tiny traces. Ultimately, we therefore also owe it our own existence. The study has now been published in the journal “Nature Communications.”

International Conference: Mathematics Meets Life Sciences

Mathematical modelling and analysis are essential for all fields of the life sciences nowadays, ranging from basic research to clinical application. The collaboration between mathematicians and life scientists has a long tradition in Bonn. This week Bonn researchers exchange views with colleagues from Germany and abroad on the current status and possible future developments at an international conference at the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn. 

Catharina Stroppel receives Leibniz Prize

In recognition of her excellent research work, Prof. Dr. Catharina Stroppel received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, which is endowed with 2.5 million euros. The German Research Foundation (DFG) announced this today. The researcher from the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) at the University of Bonn is honored with the award for her outstanding work in representation theory, in particular in connection with category theory. The highly endowed prize permits a large degree of freedom in research.

Matthias Braun receives ERC Starting Grant

Freshly appointed to the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn and immediately successful in acquiring one of the highest-ranking top grants of the European Union: Ethicist and Theologian Prof. Dr. Matthias Braun receives a coveted Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). This is associated with funding of 1.5 million euros for the next five years. The researcher and his team are studying the ethical and societal impact of digital twins in healthcare.

Million Prize at International Robot Competition

Team NimbRo from the University of Bonn has won the grand prize of five million US dollars at the ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition in Long Beach (USA). The final of the competition, sponsored by the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) and hosted by the XPRIZE Foundation, featured 17 teams from ten countries who were selected from 99 registered research groups in a multi-stage qualification process. With a total of ten million US dollars in prize money, the ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition was the most highly endowed robotics competition to date.

Astronomy: Observation puzzles researchers

An international team of astrophysicists has made a puzzling discovery while analyzing certain star clusters. The University of Bonn played a major role in the study. The finding challenges Newton's laws of gravity, the researchers write in their publication. Instead, the observations are consistent with the predictions of an alternative theory of gravity. However, this is controversial among experts. The results have now been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Close alliance in Earth System Science

The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich are placing their joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC) on a new contractual footing. As a joint scientific facility of the three partner institutions, an internationally visible focal point has been created to globally observe and comprehensively understand the Earth system and to predict changes. The center is additionally strengthened by a memorandum of understanding now signed with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which has moved to Bonn in 2021.

No trace of dark matter halos

According to the standard model of cosmology, the vast majority of galaxies are surrounded by a halo of dark matter particles. This halo is invisible, but its mass exerts a strong gravitational pull on galaxies in the vicinity. A new study led by the University of Bonn and the University of Saint Andrews (Scotland) challenges this view of the Universe. The results suggest that the dwarf galaxies of Earth’s second closest galaxy cluster – known as the Fornax Cluster – are free of such dark matter halos. The study appeared in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Four ERC Grants for the University of Bonn

Good news for the University of Bonn: Four scientists receive a coveted grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and thus funding in the millions for the next five years. Prof. Dr. Valentin Blomer from the Institute of Mathematics receives a so-called Advanced Grant, Prof. Dr. Claude Duhr from the Institute of Physics a Consolidator Grant, Dr. Julian Schmitt from the Institute of Applied Physics and Prof. Dr. Georg Oberdieck from the Institute of Mathematics each a Starting Grant.

Two new research units on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a boost: the German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a total of eight new AI research units with a total of 31.4 million euros. Two projects from the University of Bonn in the fields of geodesy and precision agriculture are among them. The millions in funding will flow over the next four years. An extension is possible.

Three ERC Grants for the University of Bonn at once

Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are highly coveted because they are hard to come by and provide funding in the millions of euros. At the University of Bonn, three scientists will receive such funding for the next five years.

Mathematician Ana Caraiani appointed to the University of Bonn

Reinforcement for the University of Bonn: The internationally highly recognized mathematician Ana Caraiani has accepted the call to a Hausdorff Chair. These are professorships for outstanding scientists at the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) Cluster of Excellence. The 37-year-old Romanian is the first woman to hold this position and will take it up this September. Ana Caraiani not only brings excellent mathematics with her to Bonn, but also her enthusiasm for promoting early career scientists.

Eye provides clues to insidious vascular disease

Researchers at the University and the University Hospital of Bonn have developed a method that could be used to diagnose atherosclerosis. Using self-learning software, they were able to identify vascular changes in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), often at an early stage. Although these early stages do not yet cause symptoms, they are nevertheless already associated with increased mortality. The algorithm used photos from an organ not normally associated with PAD: the eye. The results have now been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Facial analysis improves diagnosis

Rare genetic diseases can sometimes be recognized through facial features, such as characteristically shaped brows, nose or cheeks. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now trained software that uses portrait photos to better diagnose such diseases. The improved version "GestaltMatcher" can now also detect diseases that are not yet known to it. It also manages to diagnose known diseases with very small numbers of patients. The study has now been published in the journal "Nature Genetics".

Too many disk galaxies than theory allows

The Standard Model of Cosmology describes how the universe came into being according to the view of most physicists. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now studied the evolution of galaxies within this model, finding considerable discrepancies with actual observations. The University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Charles University in the Czech Republic were also involved in the study. The results have now been published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Protons are probably actually smaller than long thought

A few years ago, a novel measurement technique showed that protons are probably smaller than had been assumed since the 1990s. The discrepancy surprised the scientific community; some researchers even believed that the Standard Model of particle physics would have to be changed. Physicists at the University of Bonn and the Technical University of Darmstadt have now developed a method that allows them to analyze the results of older and more recent experiments much more comprehensively than before. This also results in a smaller proton radius from the older data. So there is probably no difference between the values - no matter which measurement method they are based on. The study appeared in Physical Review Letters.

Hausdorff Memorial Prize awarded

The Mathematics Department of the University of Bonn has awarded the Hausdorff Memorial Prize to former doctoral student Florian Schweiger for the best PhD thesis in mathematics in the past academic year. The honor, which took place virtually, was held by the chair of the Department, Prof. Dr. Anton Bovier, subsequent to the Hausdorff Colloquium.

Next round for two Collaborative Research Centres

Great success for two research collaborations at the University of Bonn: The Collaborative Research Centre Transregio (CRC-TRR) 224 "Economic Perspectives on Societal Challenges" and the CRC-TRR 228 "Future in Rural Africa" have convinced with their research work of the past four years. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is therefore funding both collaborations for a further funding period with several million euros each. In the CRC-TRR 224 project, scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim are jointly opening up economic perspectives on social challenges. The CRC-TRR 228 project brings together researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) and the German Development Institute (DIE) to work on shaping the future of rural Africa.

New Collaborative Research Centres for the University of Bonn

New boost for excellent research at the University of Bonn: The German Research Foundation (DFG) is establishing two new Collaborative Research Centres (CRC). In the CRC 1502 "Regional Climate Change: The Role of Land Use and Water Management", researchers are investigating the hypothesis that human-induced land use change and intensified water management influence the regional climate. The speaker of the consortium is Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kusche. In the Transregio-CRC 333 "Brown and Beige Fat Organ Crosstalk, Signaling and Energetics ( BATenergy)", the research teams are looking at different types of adipose tissue and their role in metabolic diseases. The network is a collaboration of the Universities of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn, the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The speaker is Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer.

Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Ethiopia is underestimated

In an Ethiopian-German research collaboration, researchers of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the LMU University Hospital with participation of the University of Bonn investigated blood samples of frontline healthcare workers and residents from urban and rural communities for antibodies. The results suggest that the true COVID-19 prevalence is much higher than previously reported official figures. Therefore, the research team recommends a realignment of the vaccination strategy for Africa. The study is published in the journal “The Lancet Global Health”.

Mathematics meets Life Sciences

The tremendous advances made in experimental life sciences in recent years provide a wealth of data on how organisms function. To gain biomedical knowledge from these data, both mathematical modeling and numerical analysis techniques in conjunction with experimental data are essential. At a joint symposium of the Clusters of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics and ImmunoSensation2 as well as the Transdisciplinary Research Areas "Modelling" and "Life and Health" of the University of Bonn, the professors working at the interfaces and their colleagues presented their research and invited to participate.

BMBF funds “Robots in Everyday Life” transfer center

Smart robots, such as vacuuming or mopping robots, are becoming more prevalent in everyday life and will also increasingly take care of tasks in the public sphere in the future. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now approved EUR 2.25 million of funding for the Robots in Everyday Life (RimA) transfer center project. Computer Scientists at the University of Bonn will be working on the Benchmarking of Assistance Robots subproject until 2025.

What factors impact the spread of viruses?

Many different factors are responsible for the spread of infectious diseases. What is known is that the spread process depends essentially on the infectiousness of the pathogen and the immune response of the host, but also on human behavior. This relates, for example, to the extent to which distance regulations are observed. Less often considered, however, is the fact that the factors and their influence can vary greatly between groups of people - both at the biomedical and socioeconomic levels. Mathematicians, physicians and economists now want to take a closer look at this so-called inter-individual variability in a joint collaboration project of the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Munich. The goal is to determine new factors that are relevant for the transmission or containment of SARS-CoV-2 viruses. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding the project with several hundred thousand euros, of which 270,000 euros will go to Bonn.

Winning a $100,000 Machine Learning Competition

How can parcel delivery be optimized with a mass of routes and parcels? More precisely, how can algorithms learn and use the knowledge and behavior of experienced drivers? To solve this problem, mathematician Prof. Dr. Stephan Held from the University of Bonn, together with two colleagues from Canada and Denmark, has now emerged as the winner of a worldwide competition - the "Amazon Last Mile Routing Research Challenge". The competition is organized by Amazon and the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics in Boston. The prize money of $100,000 for the winning team attracted 2,285 participants from all over the world this year.

Mathematical Epidemiologist Elba Raimundéz won the Pfizer Poster Prize for Covid19-Modelling.

Mathematical Epidemiologist Elba Raimundéz won the Pfizer Poster Prize for Covid19-Modelling at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology. Her work addresses the limitations of publicly available case numbers for epidemiological modeling demonstrated on data of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. This work motivated another collaborative research initiative on parameter and prediction uncertainties, which is currently funded by the TRA Modelling.

Ulf-G. Meißner receives an ERC Advanced Grant

What happens when strange quarks are inserted into atomic nuclei? Which "habitable" universes are theoretically possible? These are just some of the questions Prof. Dr. Ulf-G. Meißner from the Helmholtz Institute for Radiation and Nuclear Physics at the University of Bonn wants to investigate. For this project, the researcher receives an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Funding for the project, in which the Forschungszentrum Jülich is also involved, amounts to about 2.3 million euros.

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