2010 April

Turing structures in networks

Monday, 26th April 2010Publication highlights

Turing patterns in a complex network.

Researchers from the Department of Physical Chemistry of the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin and the Department of Physics of the Kyoto University have made an important step forward in the understanding of self-organization phenomena, extending theoretical analysis to the systems which represent complex networks. Their attention was focused on the behavior first predicted in 1952 by British mathematician Alan Turing and suggested by him to provide chemical basis for biological morphogenesis. They have reported their findings in an article appearing in Nature Physics. more

(Published online: 25 April 2010 | doi: 10.1038/NPHYS1651).

Increased silver activity for direct propylene epoxidation via subnanometer size effects

Monday, 19th April 2010Publication highlights

Results of increased silver activity for direct propylene epoxidation via subnanometer size effects have been reported in the journal Science; the work was part of a collaborative effort. Here is the abstract:

Production of the industrial chemical propylene oxide is energy-intensive and environmentally unfriendly. Catalysts based on bulk silver surfaces with direct propylene epoxidation by molecular oxygen have not resolved these problems because of substantial formation of carbon dioxide. We found that unpromoted, size-selected Ag3 clusters and ~3.5-nanometer Ag nanoparticles on alumina supports can catalyze this reaction with only a negligible amount of carbon dioxide formation an with high activity at low temperatures. Density functional calculations show that, relative to extended silver surfaces, oxidized silver trimers are more active and selective for epoxidation because of the open-shell nature of their electronic structure. The results suggest that new architectures based on ultrasmall silver particles may provide highly efficient catalysts for propylene epoxidation.

Science, vol 328 p. 224 (2010)

Science spurs in the German Oxford: A guided walking tour around Berlin-Dahlem

Tuesday, 13th April 2010Miscellaneous , Events

In 1912, the construction of a scientific center began in among the villas of Dahlem. The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG) was founded in the green fields on the outskirts of the fast-growing Berlin. This was to be the first German institution for the promotion of fundamental research. The buildings were extraordinary for their time, full of the most modern laboratory technology, and they attracted the most famous researchers of the time from home and abroad. Many Nobel prize winners lived and worked in Dahlem. The tradition of quality research continues on in Dahlem today. After WWII the Free University of Berlin took over many of theold research buildings. Other buildings remained in the hands of the Max Planck Society — the successor of the KWG established in 1948.

The tour will take in all the important locations of science history and milestones of research. In addition to viewing the various architecture, living, and laboratory spaces, the tour will address the best conditions under which scientists’ innovation can thrive. Architecture of research facilities has changed dramatically over the past century. The principle that good ideas are encouraged by open spaces is particularly clear in Dahlem, where even a swimming pool area was still functioning in the 1960’s.

Target audiences: People interested in general history, city planing, and history of science. The tour can be conducted in German and in English per request.

more info

Easter puzzle: The great scientists of Berlin

Wednesday, 7th April 2010Miscellaneous , Internal information

In honor of Berlin’s “Year of Science”, der Tagesspiegel newspaper has created a science-themed puzzle. Do you think you know the scientific greats that have passed through Berlin? Then try the puzzle (deadline: 19 April). The clues to help you identify ten prominent Berlin-based scientists can be found under this link (in German only).