TUM – Latest news https://www.tum.de Latest news of TUM en TUM Sat, 26 Sep 2020 18:21:51 +0200 Sat, 26 Sep 2020 18:21:51 +0200 Secure nano-carrier delivers medications directly to cells https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36236/ The human body is made up of billions of cells. In the case of cancer, the genome of several of these cells is changed pathologically so that the cells divide in an uncontrolled manner. The cause of virus infections is also found within the affected cells. During chemotherapy for example, drugs are used to try to destroy these cells. However, the therapy impacts the entire body, damaging healthy cells as well and resulting in side effects which are sometimes quite serious.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Oliver Lieleg, Professor of Biomechanics and a member of the TUM Munich School of BioEngineering, and Prof. Thomas Crouzier of the KTH has developed a transport system which releases the active agents of medications in affected cells only. "The drug carriers are accepted by all the cells," Lieleg explains. "But only the diseased cells should be able to trigger the release of the active agent."

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36235 Fri, 25 Sep 2020 12:15:00 +0200
The Return of the Spin Echo https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36234/ Small particles can have an angular momentum that points in a certain direction – this is known as spin. This spin can be manipulated using a magnetic field. This principle, for example, is the basic idea behind magnetic resonance imaging as used in hospitals.

An international research team has now discovered a surprising effect in a system that is particularly well suited for processing quantum information: the spins of phosphorus atoms in a piece of silicon, coupled to a microwave resonator.

If these spins are expertly stimulated with microwave pulses, a so-called spin echo signal can be detected after a certain time – the injected pulse signal is re-emitted as a quantum echo.

Amazingly, this quantum echo doesn’t occur only once, but a whole series of echoes can be detected. This opens up new possibilities of how information can be processed with quantum systems.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36233 Thu, 24 Sep 2020 08:31:16 +0200
Insects as food for farm animals https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36232/ The founders of FarmInsect (Wolfgang Westermeier, Thomas Kühn, and Andre Klöckner) have developed their company based on the principle of using agricultural biomass in a circular economy. Accordingly, residues that accumulate in the region, such as harvest or peeling residues from an agricultural operation or residues from the regional food industry, such as spent grain or bread, can be used to fatten and feed insect larvae, which can in turn be used as feed for livestock animals.

The use of insect meal in aquaculture has been legally permitted since the end of 2017 and an approval for use in poultry and pig fattening is expected in 2021, especially since feeding of live insects to chickens, pigs, and fish is already permitted.

“Our decentralized method of insect production offers the ability to feed the larvae live because there are no long transport routes. This stimulates the animals to beck and burrow (their natural instincts) more effectively and thus promotes animal welfare,” says co-founder and agricultural scientist Wolfgang Westermeier.

Entrepreneurship katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36231 Tue, 22 Sep 2020 08:25:02 +0200
ERC supports pioneering research projects at TUM https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36229/ To date, researchers at TUM have received a total of 135 of the renowned grants from the European Research Council (ERC). These are awarded in different categories every year.

Starting grants aim to facilitate the implementation of new research approaches by excellent young scientists. They are endowed with up to two million euros.

Proof-of-concept grants are awarded to scientists who want to assess whether their ERC research projects might lead to marketable innovations. As an entrepreneurial university, TUM values this aspect of research and specifically promotes start-ups by researchers and students.

Campus news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36229 Fri, 18 Sep 2020 08:38:28 +0200
“Honey, I shrunk the detector” https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36227/ Since the development of medical ultrasound imaging in the 1950s, the core detection technology of ultrasound waves has primarily focused on using piezoelectric detectors, which convert the pressure from ultrasound waves into electric voltage. The imaging resolution achieved with ultrasound depends on the size of the piezoelectric detector employed. Reducing this size leads to higher resolution and can offer smaller, densely packed one or two dimensional ultrasound arrays with improved ability to discriminate features in the imaged tissue or material. However, further reducing the size of piezoelectric detectors impairs their sensitivity dramatically, making them unusable for practical application.

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36227 Thu, 17 Sep 2020 14:05:06 +0200
The accident preventers https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36225/ A car approaches an intersection. Another vehicle jets out of the cross street, but it is not yet clear whether it will turn right or left. At the same time, a pedestrian steps into the lane directly in front of the car, and there is a cyclist on the other side of the street. People with road traffic experience will in general assess the movements of other traffic participants correctly.

“These kinds of situations present an enormous challenge for autonomous vehicles controlled by computer programs,” explains Matthias Althoff, Professor of Cyber-Physical Systems at TUM. "But autonomous driving will only gain acceptance of the general public if you can ensure that the vehicles will not endanger other road users – no matter how confusing the traffic situation."

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36225 Tue, 15 Sep 2020 13:00:22 +0200
Satellite images display changes in the condition of European forests https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36223/ Rupert Seidl (Professor of Ecosystem Dynamics and Forest Management in Mountain Landscapes at the TUM) and his colleague Cornelius Senf (lead author of the study) for the first time produced a high-resolution map of all openings in the canopy of European forests. They have analyzed more than 30,000 satellite images and identified more than 36 million areas where large trees have given way to open spaces of young trees. This corresponds to a loss of the canopy in 17 percent of the European forests in 30 years.

The reasons for the canopy openings range from regulated wood use to wind storms and forest fires. The team also found that the size of the canopy openings varied widely from area to area.

For example, Sweden has the largest canopy openings (averaging almost two hectares) while Portugal has the highest number of canopy openings. Switzerland has the smallest openings with just 0.6 hectares on average (which is smaller than a soccer field) while the average size opening in Germany is 0.7 hectares and in Italy 0.75 hectares. The largest opening documented by the researchers is in Spain, where a single fire in 2012 burned 17,000 hectares.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36222 Mon, 14 Sep 2020 17:00:00 +0200
Online course explores the transformation of aerospace https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36221/ How is artificial intelligence being used in satellite research? How is automation affecting production processes in aeronautics? How are robotics and digitalization changing corporate workflows in the industry? To answer these and other questions on the technological transformation in the aerospace sector, the research network Munich Aerospace and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have created an English-language online course. The MOOC is available free of charge starting today on the Coursera learning platform.

Researchers from TUM, Universität der Bundeswehr München (UniBwM), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Bauhaus Luftfahrt as well as speakers from such companies as Airbus and the analysis and testing service provider IABG, explain the effects of digitalization on production, maintenance and certification in the aerospace sector. In a welcoming address, the Bavarian State Minister for Digital Affairs, Judith Gerlach, explains the role of aerospace research for the Bavarian digitalization strategy.

Campus news news-36221 Mon, 14 Sep 2020 11:29:24 +0200
Revealing the secrets of high-energy cosmic particles https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36220/ Astronomers observe the light that comes to us from distant celestial objects to explore the Universe. However, light does not tell us much about the highest energy events beyond our Galaxy, such as the jets of active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts or supernovae, because photons in the upper gamma-ray range lose their extreme energies on their long way through the Universe through interaction with other particles.

Just like light, neutrinos traverse space at the speed of light (almost) but interact extremely rarely with other particles. They maintain their energy and direction, which makes them unique messengers of the highest energy universe.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36219 Wed, 09 Sep 2020 08:34:31 +0200
Quick and clean satellite launches https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36218/ In contrast to traditional satellites, which weigh several tons, modern small satellites top out at 500 kilograms or less. This is possible thanks to efficient electric drive motors and the miniaturization of electronic components. The production costs are lower, too, making it feasible to send entire swarms of satellites into orbit, for example to improve internet connectivity or generate earth observation data.

These small satellites are placed in low orbits at around 500 kilometers above the Earth's surface. This permits the rapid transmission of data to the ground. But how can tens of thousands of small satellites be launched into orbit as efficiently, cost-effectively and cleanly as possible? "Most launch vehicles are poorly suited to this task," says Daniel Metzler, one of the co-founders of the Isar Aerospace start-up.

Entrepreneurship stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36217 Mon, 07 Sep 2020 14:00:00 +0200
Outstanding position in THE Rankings https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36216/ TUM has moved up two places as compared with the previous year and is now ranked 41st. Thus, the two Munich universities TUM and LMU are once again at the top in Germany. In the European Union, TUM reaches the third best position behind the Swedish Karolinska Institute (36th).

The ranking by the British magazine Times Higher Education takes various factors into account: Scientists and scholars worldwide are surveyed on the research and teaching reputations of the universities. In addition, data such as the number of publications per researcher, citations per publication, the teacher-student ratio, third-party funding raised from the private sector and the degree of internationalization are assessed.

TUM also regularly achieves excellent results in other international rankings. For example, it is listed as the best university in the EU in the QS World University Ranking. In the Global University Employability Ranking, in which companies rate the quality of graduates, it is ranked sixth worldwide.

TUM in Rankings news-36215 Wed, 02 Sep 2020 13:38:23 +0200
Finding cortisone alternatives with fewer side effects https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36214/ A group of scientists around Henriette Uhlenhaut, Professor for Metabolic Programming at TUM School of Life Sciences in Freising-Weihenstephan and researcher in the field of Molecular Endocrinology at Helmholtz Zentrum München is working with so-called glucocorticoids. These are steroidal hormones such as cortisone, which are released by the adrenal glands every day before waking up or whenever a person is subjected to stress. These steroids are bound to their glucocorticoid receptor and control not only our body’s immune reaction but also our sugar and fat metabolism. 

As glucocorticoid receptors are so efficient at disabling immune reactions, synthetic steroid medication is among the most prescribed drugs overall and it has been for decades. 

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36207 Wed, 02 Sep 2020 12:13:00 +0200
"Biohackers" TV series stored on DNA https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36213/ Prof. Heckel, Biohackers is about a medical student seeking revenge on a professor with a dark past – and the manipulation of DNA with biotechnology tools. You were commissioned to store the series on DNA. How does that work?

First, I should mention that what we're talking about is artificially generated – in other words, synthetic – DNA. DNA consists of four building blocks: the nucleotides adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). Computer data, meanwhile, are coded as zeros and ones. The first episode of Biohackers consists of a sequence of around 600 million zeros and ones. To code the sequence 01 01 11 00 in DNA, for example, we decide which number combinations will correspond to which letters. For example: 00 is A, 01 is C, 10 is G and 11 is T. Our example then produces the DNA sequence CCTA. Using this principle of DNA data storage, we have stored the first episode of the series on DNA.

And to view the series – is it just a matter of "reverse translation" of the letters?

In a very simplified sense, you can visualize it like that. When writing, storing and reading the DNA, however, errors occur. If these errors are not corrected, the data stored on the DNA will be lost. To solve the problem, I have developed an algorithm based on channel coding. This method involves correcting errors that take place during information transfers. The underlying idea is to add redundancy to the data. Think of language: When we read or hear a word with missing or incorrect letters, the computing power of our brain is still capable of understanding the word. The algorithm follows the same principle: It encodes the data with sufficient redundancy to ensure that even highly inaccurate data can be restored later.

Channel coding is used in many fields, including in telecommunications. What challenges did you face when developing your solution?

The first challenge was to create an algorithm specifically geared to the errors that occur in DNA. The second one was to make the algorithm so efficient that the largest possible quantities of data can be stored on the smallest possible quantity of DNA, so that only the absolutely necessary amount of redundancy is added. We demonstrated that our algorithm is optimized in that sense.

DNA data storage is very expensive because of the complexity of DNA production as well as the reading process. What makes DNA an attractive storage medium despite these challenges?

First, DNA has a very high information density. This permits the storage of enormous data volumes in a minimal space. In the case of the TV series, we stored "only" 100 megabytes on a picogram – or a billionth of a gram of DNA. Theoretically, however, it would be possible to store up to 200 exabytes on one gram of DNA. And DNA lasts a long time. By comparison: If you never turned on your PC or wrote data to the hard disk it contains, the data would disappear after a couple of years. By contrast, DNA can remain stable for many thousands of years if it is packed right.

And the method you have developed also makes the DNA strands durable – practically indestructible.

My colleague Robert Grass was the first to develop a process for the "stable packing" of DNA strands by encapsulating them in nanometer-scale spheres made of silica glass. This ensures that the DNA is protected against mechanical influences. In a joint paper in 2015, we presented the first robust DNA data storage concept with our algorithm and the encapsulation process developed by Prof. Grass. Since then we have continuously improved our method. In our most recent publication in Nature Protocols of January 2020, we passed on what we have learned.

What are your next steps? Does data storage on DNA have a future?

We're working on a way to make DNA data storage cheaper and faster. "Biohackers" was a milestone en route to commercialization. But we still have a long way to go. If this technology proves successful, big things will be possible. Entire libraries, all movies, photos, music and knowledge of every kind – provided it can be represented in the form of data – could be stored on DNA and would thus be available to humanity for eternity.

Research news christine.lehner@tum.de news-36212 Tue, 01 Sep 2020 08:46:00 +0200
"Ethics must be part of the development process" https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36211/ Professor Buyx, the discussions surrounding a greater emphasis on ethics in AI research have greatly intensified in recent years, to the point where one might speak of "ethics hype" …

… and many committees in Germany and around the world such as the German Ethics Council or the EU Commission High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence have responded. They are all in agreement: We need more ethics in the development of AI-based health technologies. But how do things look in practice for engineers and designers? Concrete solutions are still few and far between. In a joint pilot project with two Integrative Research Centers at TUM, the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM) with its director, Prof. Sami Haddadin, and the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), with Prof. Ruth Müller, we want to try out the embedded ethics approach. We published the proposal in Nature Machine Intelligence at the end of July.

What exactly is meant by the "embedded ethics approach"?

The idea is to make ethics an integral part of the research process by integrating ethicists into the AI development team from day one. For example, they attend team meetings on a regular basis and create a sort of "ethical awareness" for certain issues. They also raise and analyze specific ethical and social issues.

Is there an example of this concept in practice?

The Geriatronics Research Center, a flagship project of the MSRM in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, is developing robot assistants to enable people to live independently in old age. The center's initiatives will include the construction of model apartments designed to try out residential concepts where seniors share their living space with robots. At a joint meeting with the participating engineers, it was noted that the idea of using an open concept layout everywhere in the units – with few doors or individual rooms – would give the robots considerable range of motion. With the seniors, however, this living concept could prove upsetting because they are used to having private spaces. At the outset, the engineers had not given explicit consideration to this aspect.

The approach sounds promising. But how can we avoid "embedded ethics" from turning into an "ethics washing" exercise, offering companies a comforting sense of "being on the safe side" when developing new AI technologies?

That's not something we can be certain of avoiding. The key is mutual openness and a willingness to listen, with the goal of finding a common language – and subsequently being prepared to effectively implement the ethical aspects. At TUM we are ideally positioned to achieve this. Prof. Sami Haddadin, the director of the MSRM, is also a member of the EU High-Level Group of Artificial Intelligence. In his research, he is guided by the concept of human centered engineering. Consequently, he has supported the idea of embedded ethics from the very beginning. But one thing is certain: Embedded ethics alone will not suddenly make AI "turn ethical". Ultimately, that will require laws, codes of conduct and possibly state incentives.

Research news christine.lehner@tum.de news-36210 Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:24:00 +0200
Hydrochloric acid boosts catalyst activity https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36202/ Crude oil contains a great deal of sulfur. To turn the crude oil into fuel, the sulfur compounds must be removed using hydrogen. Experts call this process hydrotreating. The process is carried out using catalysts.

Under the leadership of Prof. Johannes Lercher and Dr Hui Shi, a team of researchers at the Professorship of Chemical Technology at the Technical University of Munich have now developed a process to increase the activity of these catalysts many times over by treating the catalytically active metal sulfides with concentrated hydrochloric acid beforehand.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36199 Tue, 25 Aug 2020 09:53:00 +0200
Tracing Corona with wearables https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36208/ At the beginning of the Corona pandemic the TUM start-up Kinexon quickly developed a system that issues a warning in case of inadequate social distancing and which also supports contact tracing. The heart of this "SafeZone" solution is a little white box equipped with a sensor that can be carried on the body as a wearable for example on an armband, clip or lanyard. When two of these sensors come into proximity with one another for a certain period of time, they issue an optical and acoustic warning signal. The minimum separation distance can be set to various values, for example to the 1.5 meters recommended by the Robert Koch Institute, in order to minimize the risk of Covid-19 infections. In addition, the company offers contact tracing software which renders the chains of infection transparent without violating personal rights. 

Precise tracking with ultra-broadband technology

In contrast to the official German Corona tracing app, the Kinexon system uses ultra-broadband  technology instead of Bluetooth. This facilitates more precise time and distance measurements, exact to less than 10 cm, so that among other things it is possible to detect whether two people are standing back to back or facing one another. Kinexon is not addressing the product to private individuals, but to companies looking for support in compliance with Corona regulations. In the meantime the system is not only in use at large corporations in Germany, it's also an essential element in the restart of the US professional football and basketball leagues. 

„Kinexon is another outstanding example of the living entrepreneurial spirit of our graduates”, says TUM president Thomas F. Hofmann. „The Kinexon success story and the wide range of support available at TUM are the best motivation for the next generation of founders.”


Initially the company concentrated on the sports and media sectors: "The idea was born about eight years ago, when Alexander Hüttenbrink and I learned during a tour of the Allianz Arena soccer stadium how cumbersome it was to capture performance data," recalls Oliver Trinchera, co-founder and, together with Hüttenbrink, managing director at Kinexon. "It has to be possible to do that faster and better in a high-tech country like Germany, we thought. So, while we spent our days working on our doctorates at the TUM School of Management, we spent the nights developing the idea for Kinexon."

Before his doctorate Oliver Trinchera combined management science with courses at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Master's program "Management and Technology". "I found the connection of entirely disparate worlds in this degree program highly enriching," says Trinchera. Additional studies at the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM) further prepared Trinchera to found a tech company. And the connection with TUM remained after the company was founded: For example, a team from the Chair of Industrial Design participated in product design and many of the company's employees are TUM alumni.

Covid-19 Entrepreneurship a.schmidt@tum.de news-36208 Tue, 18 Aug 2020 16:20:34 +0200
One of Europes best Technical Universities https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36206/ The Shanghai Ranking assesses the research work of universities worldwide. Officially known as the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the rankings were developed at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Key criteria include the number of papers published in important journals such as Nature and Science, the citation impact of scientists at an institution and the number of Nobel laureates and winners of the Fields Medal – one of the most prestigious mathematics awards.

Second place in Germany, eighth place in the EU

Alongside TUM in position 54, only three other German universities made it into the top 100: LMU Munich (51) and the universities of Heidelberg (57) and Bonn (87). With rank eight, the university also holds a top position within the EU. TUM is once again the best technical university in Germany and, together with the University of Paris-Saclay (14), ETH Zurich (20) and Imperial College London (25), is one of the four best TUs in Europe.

Top quality in international subject rankings

The Shanghai Ranking publishers also recently released subject-based rankings. Here, too, TUM achieved outstanding results, for example in Remote Sensing and Aerospace Engineering, where it placed 8th and 16th worldwide, respectively. TUM's comprehensive expertise in these research fields is now combined in the new Department of Aerospace and Geodesy. 

TUM can also boast strong results in such areas as Medical Technology (14th worldwide) and Environmental Science & Engineering (17th). Other areas where TUM stands alongside the world's best universities in the global subject rankings include Agricultural Sciences (33rd) and Food Science and Technology (42nd).

TUM regularly achieves excellent results in other international rankings, too. For example, it was listed as the best university in the EU in the QS World University Ranking, and ranks sixth worldwide in the Global University Employability Ranking.

TUM in Rankings a.schmidt@tum.de news-36205 Mon, 17 Aug 2020 10:00:00 +0200
Designed bacteria produce coral-antibiotic https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36204/ Thomas Brück saw the sea whip Antillogorgia elisabethae for the first time 17 years ago while diving on a research trip to the Bahamas. He still remembers this encounter vividly, which took place 18 meters below the water’s surface: “Their polyp-covered, violet branchlets moved gently in the current. A fascinating living organism!” As it also contains various biologically active compounds, the biochemist since then has studied the natural product biosynthesis of this soft coral.

Sea whips are protected; despite this, their existence is in danger. The collection and sale of dried corals is a lucrative business, as these contain various active agents, including an anti-inflammatory molecule called pseudopterosin, which is used in the cosmetics industry for years. 

“Coral reefs fix and store the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and are biodiversity hotspots. If we want to protect the world’s reefs, we have to generate such biologically active natural products, via sustainable processes,” says Brück.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36203 Mon, 17 Aug 2020 08:30:00 +0200
Student-nominated award for exemplary employers https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36190/ When looking at potential employers, students are increasingly interested in the ethical and sustainable dimension of their approach to business. But many companies with a strong sense of corporate responsibility often go unnoticed by graduates, especially small and medium sized enterprises. Consequently, IKOM, a group that brings together students and companies at TUM, created Germany's first student award for employers in 2018. The group presents the award annually, in cooperation with TUM and vbw, with the Bavarian State Minister for Economic Affairs, Hubert Aiwanger, acting as the honorary patron.

The selection criteria for nominees are a focus on values and sustainability, a commitment to Germany as a place for doing business, entrepreneurial continuity, and opportunities for recent graduates to start their careers and move up the ladder. For this year's third edition – for which the ceremony was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic – the jury, made up of students, researchers, business people and media representatives, selected the following winners:

Campus news klaus.becker@tum.de news-36189 Fri, 14 Aug 2020 09:29:00 +0200
New solar cells for space https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36193/ Perovskite and organic solar cells are promising options for future generations of solar cells. Over recent years, their efficiency has rapidly caught up with that of conventional silicon-based cells.

“The best perovskite solar cells currently achieve efficiency levels of 25 percent,” says Peter Müller-Buschbaum, Professor of Functional Materials at the TUM Department of Physics. “These thin solar cells, less than one micrometer thick, applied to ultra-thin, flexible synthetic sheet, are extremely lightweight. They can therefore produce nearly 30 watts per gram.”

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36192 Thu, 13 Aug 2020 03:03:00 +0200
“American foreign policy would be more predictable again” https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36194/ Prof. Büthe, this year the designation of the vice-presidential candidate for the Democratic ticket was the subject of great anticipation. What was the reason?

In addition to the heightened attention the incumbent US president is generally directing towards the US election campaign, Joe Biden's announcement that he would choose a woman running mate no matter what raised great expectations. Furthermore it is expected, more than is usually the case with American presidents, that a president Biden would involve his vice president in official presidential functions from day 1. And given Biden's age, there is a good possibility that she would take over as president either temporarily or permanently at some point during Biden's four-year term.

At our Bavarian School of Public Policy you're particularly concerned with the political aspects of international economic relationships – what impact does the designation of Kamala Harris have on this topic?

Kamala Harris is for the most part an unknown when it comes to foreign policy. Her political career up to now has been concerned almost exclusively with domestic policy issues. But we can note for the time being that she does not belong to the protectionist wing of the Democratic party. And that's certainly a good sign for the German economy.

The reputation she earned during her long career as a District Attorney and as a US senator (since 2017) is reason to expect that she will be a hardline negotiator when it comes to pursuing American interests. This would for example be relevant in long-time conflicts topics such as the German export surplus or German defense expenditures, which are low from an American point of view. But the tone towards Germany and other countries would certainly be more friendly than it is under Trump.

Above and beyond purely economic aspects, the USA is currently withdrawing from a wide variety of international alliances and treaties. Would this trend continue under Biden and Harris?

I assume that Harris supports Biden's tendency towards multilateralism. The two will thus want to stop the withdrawal of the USA from international institutions and may even want to reverse the trend. But it's not clear whether or not this is as important to Harris as it is to Biden – even if Harris has personal international experience: She lived in Canada for several years as a teenager.

US relations to Russia and China have been the focus of particular attention…

As far as Russia is concerned, we can expect a tougher stance from Harris - and from Biden - than under Trump, in particular because of the attempts by the Russian government, already becoming visible, to influence the American elections in Trump's favor once again in 2020.

And Harris has also called for a hardline position towards China, in particular on the topic of industrial espionage, although certainly in a less emotional and aggressive tone than under Trump.

On the whole we can expect from Harris that her election as Biden's vice president would make American foreign policy more predictable than it often appears under president Trump.

Campus news schmidta@zv.tum.de news-36194 Wed, 12 Aug 2020 14:24:39 +0200
Grow faster, die sooner https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36187/ "The fitness of bacteria is more complex than expected," explains Ulrich Gerland, professor for the theory of complex biosystems at the Technical University of Munich. The physicist has been studying the survival strategies of E. coli bacteria for several years.

The unicellular organisms, which go by the Latin name Escherichia coli and support digestion in the large intestine of mammals, are a popular model organism. They facilitate investigations into the way living beings can adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36187 Fri, 07 Aug 2020 08:00:00 +0200
Continuity for the implementation of Agenda 2030 https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36185/ With the election, the TUM Board of Trustees followed the proposal of President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann.  “It is an honour and a great pleasure for me to be able to continue our work together,” said the President. “The current and future Senior Executive Vice Presidents have made important contributions to winning “Excellence University” status for the third time in a row in 2019  Now we will implement the TUM Agenda 2030 and prepare our university for future challenges.”

The current and future Senior Executive Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs is Gerhard Müller, Professor of Structural Mechanics. He was first elected to office in 2014. Claudia Peus is Professor of Research and Science Management. She has held the office of Senior Vice President for Talent Management and Diversity since 2017. Juliane Winkelmann, Professor of Neurogenetics, became Senior Vice President for International Alliances and Alumni the same year. Dr. Hans Pongratz has held the office ofd TUM Chief Information Officer (CIO) since 2011.


Campus news paul.hellmich@tum.de news-36185 Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:50:09 +0200
Sherry Suyu to receive 2021 Berkeley Prize https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36184/ Determining the Hubble constant, a measure of the expansion of the universe, has been one of the most exciting challenges in physics for years: Measurements in today's universe provide different values than those inferred from the early phase of the universe.

Using light from far away quasars, which is bent by the gravitation of foreground galaxies, Prof. Sherry Suyu and her international team of astrophysicists have developed a new way of calculating the Hubble constant that is independent of all previous methods.

Honoring this achievement, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has now awarded her the Lancelot M. Berkeley - New York Community Trust Award for meritorious work in astronomy. The prize includes a monetary award and an invitation to give the closing plenary lecture at the AAS winter meeting, which will take place from 11 to 15 January 2021 as an online event.

In addition to teaching as an Assistant Professor at TUM and her role as a Research Group Leader at the MPA, Suyu is a Visiting Scholar at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taipeh (Taiwan) and a principal investigator at the Cluster of Excellence "ORIGINS". Her H0LiCOW team includes scientists at institutions in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Taiwan.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36183 Thu, 30 Jul 2020 11:42:39 +0200
The key to long-term CO2 storage in the soil https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36175/ Carbon is the most important element for all life forms on earth; it is circulating between the atmosphere, oceans and land ecosystems in the so-called carbon cycle. While a single carbon atom (as CO2) remains in the air for an average of three years before being chemically bound and converted to biomass by plant photosynthesis, it takes 23 years on average for a carbon atom in the soil organic matter to be released into the atmosphere as CO2 through microbial decomposition of dead biomass.

This microbial decomposition, however, leaves a part of the carbon in the soil, where it can be bound for a very long time – researchers estimate that they can stay in deep soil layers for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. The mechanisms responsible for this highly efficient “retention” have recently become subject to great public interest and soil scientists from all over the world are performing intensive research in this regard.

Research news Katharina.Baumeister@tum.de news-36175 Wed, 29 Jul 2020 08:08:00 +0200