Press releases
International research team cracks a hard physics problem

Strongly interacting systems play an important role in quantum physics and quantum chemistry. Stochastic methods such as Monte Carlo simulations are a proven method for investigating such systems. However, these methods reach their limits when so-called sign oscillations occur. This problem has now been solved by an international team of researchers from Germany, Turkey, the USA, China, South Korea and France using the new method of wavefunction matching. As an example, the masses and radii of all nuclei up to mass number 50 were calculated using this method. The results agree with the measurements, the researchers now report in the journal “Nature”.

Computer Science Students Design AI Applications for Research

BNTrAinee, a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and based at the University of Bonn, is developing AI-supported answers to specific research questions and is forging links between the University’s computer science teams and all manner of other subjects. This collaboration is now beginning to bear fruit, with computer science students joining forces with historians to create an algorithm that can help analyze old newspaper articles.

Breakthrough in brown fat research

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark, the Novo Nordisk Center for Adipocyte Signaling (SDU), the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) have found a protein that is responsible for turning off brown fat activity. This new discovery could lead to a promising strategy for safely activating brown fat and tackling obesity and related health problems. The results of the study have now been published in the journal „Nature Metabolism“.

A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

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".

Classroom Robots Helping Children

Mobile robots enabling chronically ill schoolchildren to participate in lessons: this is the objective of a new joint development project by the universities of Bonn, Göttingen (coordinator) and Duisburg-Essen, in collaboration with chilli mind GmbH. Protecting the privacy of all parties involved poses a particular project challenge.

Digital Twins Improve Stroke Treatment

After someone has suffered a stroke or brain hemorrhage, it is a race against time to prevent their brain cells from dying. Admittedly, it still sounds like science fiction: physicians are using a digital twin to test out the most promising potential treatments for precisely this scenario. However, if all goes to plan for the researchers in the European consortium christened “Gemini” (“twin” in Latin), this could be a reality in as little as six years. The 19 partners led by Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) have received a Horizon grant worth €10 million from the European Commission to tackle the project. The Department of (Social) Ethics in the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn is also involved in the work. 

How Bacteria load their syringes

Many bacterial pathogens use small injection apparatuses to manipulate the cells of their hosts, such as humans, so that they can spread throughout the body. To do this, they need to fill their syringes with the relevant injection agent. A technique that tracks the individual movement of proteins revealed how bacteria accomplish this challenging task. A team of researchers from the University of Bonn and the Max Planck Institute in Marburg have revealed how bacteria perform this complex task, using a technology that tracks the movement of individual proteins. Their findings have now been published in the leading journal Nature Microbiology.

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.

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