TUM – Latest news https://www.tum.de Latest news of TUM en TUM Tue, 10 Dec 2019 03:12:52 +0100 Tue, 10 Dec 2019 03:12:52 +0100 TUM Ambassadors 2019 https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35818/ For many decades international guest researchers have been spending shorter or longer periods at TUM. They enrich the institutes and academic life at our university with their scientific expertise, their international experience, and their university political involvement.

Once a year, since 2013, the President of TUM honors a selected group of international top-level scientists with the title TUM Ambassador – acknowledging them as representatives of all TUM Research Alumni around the world.

The following scientists were honored:

  • Prof. Alessandro Reali, Università degli studi di Pavia, Italy
  • Prof. Anca Muscholl, Université de Bordeaux, France
  • Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India
  • Prof. Clotilde Fermanian Kammerer, Université Paris-Est Créteil, France
  • Prof. Audrey Korsgaard, University of South Carolina, USA
  • Prof. Shengjing Tang, Beijing Institute of Technology, China
  • Prof. Bing Wang, Tsinghua University, China
Campus news news-35816 Mon, 09 Dec 2019 10:56:40 +0100
Leibniz Prizes for Thorsten Bach and Thomas Neumann https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35812/ Prof. Thorsten Bach specializes in photochemistry. In bestowing the Leibniz Prize, the DFG recognized his pioneering work in this field and in particular his internationally acclaimed breakthroughs in the development of light-induced enantioselective catalysis.

Photochemistry was long considered to be generally unsuitable for the selective production of chiral molecules – i.e. compounds that consist of the same elements and mirror each other like a left and right hand. Through his research, Bach has demonstrated how this is possible, resulting in a new field of research now known around the world as photoredox catalysis.
Thorsten Bach studied chemistry in Heidelberg and Los Angeles. He obtained his doctorate in Marburg in 1991. Following postdoctoral research at Harvard University, he completed his postdoctoral lecturing qualification in Münster in 1996. Shortly after that, he accepted a professorship in Marburg, and he has held his chair at TUM since 2000. He is a member of the Leopoldina and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Research news news-35812 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:25:40 +0100
2019: A turbulent, eventful and highly successful year https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35813/ Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann’s era as President of TUM came to an end in September after 24 years. His successor Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann looked back on the outstanding successes of this year, including the development of a sensitive robot skin, the gain of the seventh Humboldt Professorship – for artificial intelligence in medicine – and the German Future Prize for the spin-off Celonis.

The most significant event will also shape the years to come: TUM has once again been recognized as a University of Excellence for the future concept "TUM Agenda 2030". TUM will reorganize itself into schools in order to better deploy innovative research and teaching with an even more cross-disciplinary form. Together with social sciences, the engineering sciences will be oriented towards human-centered, trustworthy and socially compatible innovations. Unique career opportunities for the mid-level academic sector and attractive offers for lifelong learning for alumni complement the promotion of talent beginning in the first semester and lasting until the professorship.

President Hofmann moderated a discussion in which Prof. Daniel Cremers, Prof. Ruth Müller, student Jonas Papazoglou-Hennig and doctoral candidate Mareike Thiedeitz considered the question "Why does the future need us, TUM?". Together they explored new development potentials on the road to becoming a global university whose actions are guided by a sense of responsibility. Three start-ups illustrated how students can go on to become founding entrepreneurs.

Campus news news-35813 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:24:13 +0100
Expanded artificial intelligence research under TUM leadership https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35810/ The Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems is a central element in the Bavarian competency network in artificial machine intelligence. In a government declaration in October, Minister President Dr. Markus Söder announced his priority program to promote AI with total investments of 360 million euros. The initiative, in which TUM will take on a key role, will be centered around the Munich region, with the priority area "intelligent robotics".

 With such institutions as the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM) and the Munich Data Science Institute (MDSI), with their research in the fields of machine learning and data science, TUM has a particularly strong presence in the core areas of artificial intelligence. Minister President Söder plans to establish an "AI Mission Institute" that will emerge from the MSRM and combine research and entrepreneurial activities. TUM also has an important role to play in establishing the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems. Four chairs jointly filled by TUM and the Fraunhofer Society will promote fundamental and application-based research. Combined with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC), headed by TUM professors Claudia Eckert and Georg Sigl, this will establish a hotbed for AI research in Bavaria.

Campus news news-35810 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 09:08:00 +0100
Munich on track for status as European innovation hub https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35809/ The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy announced its decision on applications for the EXIST Potentials program in Berlin today. Over the next four years, 142 universities will be supported in their efforts to promote start-ups. A new aspect in this iteration of the EXIST program is the goal of positioning Germany as a global player for science-based start-ups.

TUM succeeded in securing funding with its concept TUM Global DeepTech Venture. It will work with UnternehmerTUM to support start-up teams from other countries in setting up locations in Munich to turn transformative technological advances into market-ready products. The focus will be on artificial intelligence, robotics, additive manufacturing and sustainable mobility – all of them strong research fields at TUM.

Entrepreneurship news-35809 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 17:00:00 +0100
PISA Study: Good results in reading https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35806/ In spring 2018, the seventh “Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)” study tested the skills of approximately 5,500 15-year-old secondary school students in Germany at approximately 220 schools covering all educational courses (both pre-university tracks (“Gymnasium”) and non-university tracks). Teachers and parents were also included in the survey. Approximately 600,000 15-year-olds participated in 79 countries around the world, including the 37 member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which coordinated the study.

Every three years the representative PISA study assesses the ability to apply basic reading, mathematics and natural science skills in everyday situations among youth close to completing their obligatory school programs. This year's focus was on reading skills, covering the ability to comprehend, use and evaluate texts and to reflect on their meaning. For the first time the study tested the ability to acquire information by navigating through web pages, to assess the credibility of texts and to reconcile contradictory information from multiple text sources.

Research news klaus.becker@tum.de news-35806 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 09:00:00 +0100
“It's normal to be different” https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35804/ Prof. Wacker, December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Do you think an annual day of this kind serves a useful purpose?

This day raises awareness of the fact that it is normal to be different. That is a good thing. But if we do not look beyond our superficial impressions, we may think that we know who “the disabled” are. That is where the danger lies. “Persons with disabilities” are not a homogeneous group.

What do you mean by that?

They are in fact just as diverse as the rest of the population. They are men and women, younger and older people, and individuals with different preferences and habits. While some are born with limitations, others acquire a disability in the course of their lifetime. It is important not to think only of “blindness”, “deafness” and the “different-ness” that comes with these conditions, but rather of people who have these limitations and their circumstances and the opportunities they face in life.

„When Germany signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people probably thought that everything was quite exemplary in this country.”— Prof. Elisabeth Wacker

You are chairing the Scientific Advisory Board for the Federal Government’s report on the conditions of life of persons with disabilities for the third time. How advanced is Germany with regard to participation?

Protection against disadvantages is already enshrined in the Basic Law. Many benefits are also provided to help with integration. When the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified 10 years ago, Germany was very quick to sign it. People probably thought that everything was quite exemplary in this country. But an assessment of the everyday opportunities for participation in society showed that, despite the laws, there are still plenty of obstacles. In other words, disabilities still result in disadvantages.

For example?

Anyone who looks at the statistics will see that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to the labor market. It's not enough to look at available measures such as hiring quotas. You also have to make sure that they have the desired effects. By the way, in reality far greater numbers of people are affected by this than those covered by the official statistics. Those only count persons with an official disability ID. In our research, we assume a quota of approximately 18%, as opposed to the officially recognized 9% of the population.

„To me, working on these participation reports is more inspiring than frustrating.”— Prof. Elisabeth Wacker

Is it frustrating for you to keep publishing disability reports where many areas show serious shortcomings?

I see it as a scientific task. We provide information needed for the necessary transformations. Through analysis, we can show where the obstacles are, which groups of people are impacted most, which areas present opportunities for development, and where the leverage points are. I find that more inspiring than frustrating.

Are these leverage points something you work on at your research chair at TUM?

Exactly. We mostly work with participatory methods. That means that the people concerned are involved as active partners in the research process. At the moment, for example, we are addressing the task of how to develop better preventive health care in residential facilities for the disabled. Under the Prevention Act, passed in 2016, this care is a requirement, but the public health insurers that provide the funds are often unsure of how to reach this segment of the population.

What have you found out?

Now we know, for example, that people with disabilities are often very interested in their health, too, and would be happy to take part in appropriate activities, preferably in clubs in their community. In another project, we developed and tested movement programs for older people with mental disabilities.

„The search for social inclusion is a responsibility that must also be taken on by the world of science.”— Prof. Elisabeth Wacker

What role do you see for the sociology of diversity at a Technical University?

At TUM we have long been aware of the effects of technologies and society on one another. This also applies to research in the social sciences. Technologies are designed by and for people. This can occur in very different ways and with very different target groups. Consequently, it is very important to pay attention to diversity. The search for social inclusion is a responsibility that must also be taken on by the world of science. That is where the sociology of diversity comes into play.

How do you work together with other scientists?

We have discussions with colleagues from the world of architecture, for example, about how a healthy city should look and how barriers can be avoided. In another project we might work with people from the medical technology field and think about how to produce perfectly fitted and affordable prosthetics with a 3D printer, for example in African countries. With an empowerment concept we can find out how information should be structured or the best way of reaching the persons concerned.

Research news paul.hellmich@tum.de news-35804 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 09:00:00 +0100
Economic dependence as a political weapon https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35803/ Henry Farrell is part of a new generation of political scientists whose theories aim to bring about a better understanding of the political consequences of rapid technological change. His recently published study "Weaponized Interdependence" (with Abraham L. Newman) gained considerable attention. It shows how powerful states leverage the dependencies of other states on technologies or other products in political conflicts. An example is the US government order prohibiting US companies from trading communications technology with foreign entities deemed a national security risk. The ban actually targeted Chinese companies. Contrary to long-standing belief, the networks resulting from globalization do not necessarily reduce the power of the state according to Farrell's theory. Instead states use the links in these networks to exert influence on specific targets.

Event klaus.becker@tum.de news-35802 Thu, 28 Nov 2019 15:25:00 +0100
Celonis wins German Future Prize https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35801/ The Celonis founders Bastian Nominacher, Martin Klenk and Alexander Rinke developed a process mining software system while studying at TUM. It investigates the everyday processes in companies, presents the analysis in understandable graphics and suggests improvements. This automatic consulting can be applied to all kinds of processes that leave digital traces, whether they are part of a pharmaceutical company's manufacturing process or the logistics of a trading company. The jury called the AI-based process mining software "a new key technology for industry and organizations that can reduce costs while boosting productivity and security."

Following its launch in 2011, Celonis achieved rapid growth: It was already Germany's fastest-growing technology company in 2015. One year later the Munich-based company opened an office in New York. In 2018, the company was valued at 1 billion US dollars, thus taking its place among the small number of German "unicorns". The latest round of financing, completed just a few days ago, yielded a valuation of 2.5 billion dollars. Global players and mid-sized companies in 20 different industries are using the software, including one third of all companies listed in the German DAX index. This places Celonis among the global market leaders in process mining.

Entrepreneurship news-35801 Thu, 28 Nov 2019 13:20:38 +0100
Regeneration of nerve cells, 3D printing in construction https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35798/ Infections, circulatory and metabolic disorders can attack and permanently damage the central nervous system, resulting for example in chronic leg pain. However, some damage to the nervous system heals after a certain period of time. It is still not known how this tissue recovery is regulated, and consequently no therapeutic support for the healing process is available. A team including TUM, the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (LMU) and the University of Göttingen will work together in SFB/TRR 274 to research nerve damage and the subsequent healing process in order to enable predictions on regeneration.

The researchers will look for control points in the central nervous system which regulate the recovery of the damaged tissue, examining the processes on a molecular scale and "in vivo". This will reveal the molecular signals of the nerve cells and their interaction with other cells. The speaker of the SFB is Mikael Simons, professor for Molecular Neurobiology at TUM.

Campus news presse@tum.de news-35798 Mon, 25 Nov 2019 15:20:31 +0100
TUM IdeAward for outstanding business ideas https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35796/ Which research results can lead to the development of a successful product? Who has the best idea for founding a start-up? More than 110 teams from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) entered the competition for this year's IdeAward. Ten finalists presented themselves in the university's Audimax yesterday, three prize winners were chosen by a jury. The IdeAward is presented by TUM, UnternehmerTUM, the Center for Innovation and Business Creation, and the Zeidler Research Foundation, which funds the award with a cash prize totaling 37,500 euros.

Entrepreneurship klaus.becker@tum.de news-35796 Fri, 22 Nov 2019 10:00:00 +0100
High award for physicist of the TUM https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35793/ In the scientific community, Andrzej J. Buras is internationally recognized for his outstanding contributions to the applied quantum field theory of fundamental interactions, especially to the phenomenology of the Standard Model of particle physics. Of particular influence were his work on the asymmetry between matter and antimatter and the quantitative effects of the strong interaction in weak and rare decays bound by quark-antiquark pairs.

Andrzej J. Buras studied physics in Warsaw. He received his doctorate in 1972 at the Niels Bohr Institute (Copenhagen). Post-doctoral studies at CERN (Geneva), Fermilab (Chicago) and SLAC (Stanford University) were followed by a position at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich. In 1988 he was appointed to the Department of Theoretical Particle Physics at the Physics Department of the Technical University of Munich.

After his retirement in 2012, he continued his research there and at the TUM Institute for Advanced Study as TUM Emeritus of Excellence, supported by an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council.

The Max Planck Medal is the DPG's highest honor for outstanding achievements in the field of theoretical physics. It will be presented to the award winner in March 2020 during the DPG Annual Meeting in Bonn. With the award to Andrzej Buras, the Max Planck Medal now goes to a physicist at the Technical University of Munich for the third time in the last four years.

Campus news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35793 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:03:49 +0100
TUM offers a world-class education https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35791/ To prepare the rankings, which are compiled annually on behalf of the British magazine Times Higher Education (THE), the market research company Trendence surveys companies in all major industries worldwide, asking them for their views on the universities with the best graduates. For the latest rankings, Trendence collected responses from around 8,000 managers in 23 countries, many of whom are responsible for recruitment.

TUM has consistently been rated for years as the German university whose graduates are best prepared for entry into the working world.

TUM in Rankings paul.hellmich@tum.de news-35791 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 09:00:00 +0100
The Future of Agricultural Sciences https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35790/ "The Max Schönleutner Gesellschaft Weihenstephan and TUM have always had the same common goal: to promote future-oriented research and training and to support innovative talents in agricultural and horticultural sciences at TUM," explained President Hofmann.

President Emeritus Professor Wolfgang A. Herrmann started a far-reaching reform and transformation of the TUM campus Freising-Weihenstephan in the year 2000. He established the Wissenschaftszentrum für Ernährung, Landnutzung und Umwelt (TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan) in order to deal with topics that are crucial for our century, such as world nutrition, lack of raw materials and climate change, at the highest scientific level.

Internationality and interdisciplinarity

In his speech Thomas F. Hofmann pointed out the potential of the "Green Campus" Weihenstephan, stating that with outstanding scientists, complemented by excellent international appointments, it was possible to focus on the digital transformation along the core topics of crop and livestock sciences, ecology and environment.

It was essential to join forces especially on such pressing issues as "How do we feed the growing world population?" or "What forms of land use are promising for the future?”. Hofmann called for building bridges between the disciplines, as this would open up interdisciplinary horizons and opportunities.

Ideal conditions at Weihenstephan

The structures in Weihenstephan are excellent – for example with the World Agricultural Systems Center (Hans Eisenmann-Forum for Agricultural Sciences). Here, the creation of the new “TUMagrar Zukunftswerkstatt” (TUM Think Tank for the future of agriculture) is planned. Together with representatives from the spheres of science, industry and associations, future topics will be discussed and new findings provided for science, government, industry and society.

An Agro&FoodTech Venture Lab is also planned in Weihenstephan in order to promote company start-ups based on science. In this maker space, creative ideas and innovative technologies in the agricultural and food sector will be tested and brought to market maturity.

New study programmes and teaching formats

The Master's programs in agricultural sciences have been modernized. TUM now offers a Master in Agrosystem Sciences and from the coming winter semester in "Agricultural Biosciences".

In general, Hofmann promoted a new understanding of teaching. By offering more online teaching, it would be possible to create extra capacity which should lead to new face-to-face formats on campus. "We have to use the attendance phases to get students to interact."

Awarding the Max Schönleutner Medal

Professor Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, former President of TUM, and Gerd Sonnleitner, former President of the European, German and Bavarian Farmers' Associations, subsequently received medals from the MSGW.

In 2007, both were key contributors to the reappraisal and restructuring of the fields of agricultural and horticultural sciences, which led to a target agreement for the agricultural sciences in 2008. TUM President emeritus Herrmann continued the pursuit of these goals in 2018 in a new agreement with the Bavarian Ministry of Science to strengthen the agricultural sciences.

Campus news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-35790 Wed, 20 Nov 2019 13:06:28 +0100
Super-efficient wing takes off https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35787/ Wings with a wider wingspan and less weight also have less air resistance and better energy-efficiency. Optimized lift behavior could save kerosene and thus reduce both emissions and costs. The limiting factor for building wings like these is the aerodynamic phenomenon known as "flutter". Aerodynamic drag and wind gusts result in continuously increasing wing vibration, similar to a flag in the wind.

"Flutter leads to material fatigue and can even go as far as ripping off the wing," explains Sebastian Köberle, research associate at the TUM Professorship for Aircraft Design. Although every wing begins to flutter at a certain speed, shorter and thicker wings have higher structural rigidity and thus higher stability. Making wings that have a wider wing-span and are still exactly as stable and add much more weight.

In the European project FLEXOP (Flutter Free FLight Envelope eXpansion for ecOnomical Performance improvement) scientists from six countries are therefore working on new technologies which can bring flutter under control and at the same time make it possible to build lighter wings.

Test flights demonstrate behavior of innovative wings

The TUM researchers are responsible for the conceptual design and execution of the test flights. The tests are to demonstrate the actual behavior of the two innovative wing designs developed in the project: The aeroelastic  wing and the flutter wing.

Here the TUM scientists first built a three-and-a-half meter long, seven meter wide flight demonstrator in which they integrated the systems provided by the European partners. Using reference wings configured especially for this purpose, the researchers then worked to make the flight demonstrator automatically fly a predefined test flight path. They figured out the optimum settings and developed manuals and checklists for the test flights. "The flight demonstrator is supposed to fly so fast with the new wings that they would theoretically have to flutter," says Köberle. "When flying at such high speeds we have to be absolutely sure that nothing goes wrong."

The aircraft has to be visible from the ground at all times, so that the researchers can intervene in case of an emergency. This means the flight maneuvers have to be performed within a tight radius of only one kilometer.

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-35787 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 11:26:18 +0100
The most highly cited researchers worldwide https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35784/ In their papers, scientists routinely cite the most important work previously published on the topic. This makes the total number of citations of a paper a good indicator of the quality of the research behind it. To identify the most highly cited researchers, the US company Clarivate Analytics analyzes its "Web of Science" database, which covers scientific publications in a broad range of subjects.

The rankings list the scientists who were cited most frequently in their subject areas in the period from 2008 to 2018. Researchers who are frequently cited in multiple fields are listed in the "cross-field" category. The list contains the names of about 6,200 persons in no specific order, including the following professors at TUM:

Agricultural Sciences:

Prof. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, Chair of Soil Science


Prof. Hubert A. Gasteiger, Chair of Technical Electrochemistry

Clinical Medicine:

Prof. Adnan Kastrati, Professorship of Interventional Cardiology / German Heart Centre Munich

Psychiatry and Psychology:

Prof. Stefan Leucht, Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar


Prof. Thomas Korn, Professorship of Experimental Neuroimmunology / Clinic and Policlinic for Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar

Prof. Hans Pretzsch, Chair of Forest Yield Science

Prof. Michael Schloter, Honorary Professor for Soil Microbiology

Prof. Matthias Tschöp, Chair of Metabolic Diseases

Prof. Wolfgang Weisser, Chair of Terrestrial Ecology

TUM in Rankings klaus.becker@tum.de news-35784 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 10:44:00 +0100
New research alliance for additive manufacturing https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35785/ This research partnership was born out of the additive manufacturing collaborative announced in early October. TUM, Oerlikon, GE Additive and Linde announced the establishment of a Bavarian additive manufacturing cluster and an Additive Manufacturing Institute to promote higher levels of collaboration and cross-disciplinary research amongst the companies and the university. Having a wide variety of expertise in one geography is expected to accelerate advances in additive manufacturing.

The TUM-Oerlikon-Linde consortium is unique as each of the three members brings its own high-tech expertise to the table in this complex space. Producing the optimum aluminum alloy with a high content of lightweight elements like magnesium through an AM process requires a deep understanding of chemistry, thermo- and fluid dynamics. During the manufacturing process, the metal powder is applied one layer at a time on a build plate and melted using a laser beam. This fuses the metal powder together and forms the desired complex, three-dimensional geometries. The process takes place in a well-defined shielding gas atmosphere.

Detailed understanding of the physical phenomena

The Chair of Aerodynamics and Fluid mechanics at TUM has a detailed understanding of the physical phenomena taking place during the additive manufacturing process using numerical simulations. “The AM research alliance bridges the gap between our latest numerical modeling achievements and future industrial applications,” says Prof. Nikolaus Adams. Researchers at TUM have developed a process simulation tool to cover the whole melt pool dynamics – from solid to liquid and gas with phase change models, surface-tension effects and thermal transport. “A detailed insight into the simultaneously occurring thermo-fluid dynamic phenomena is crucial in gaining a better understanding of the entire process and the final material characteristics,” adds Dr. Stefan Adami on the benefits of computational fluid dynamics.

Oerlikon’s expertise in powder and material science will contribute to the development of the novel material. „There are significant challenges during the additive manufacturing of aluminum alloys because the temperatures reached in the melt pool create an extreme environment that leads to evaporation losses of alloying elements that have comparatively low boiling temperatures – such as magnesium,” says Dr. Marcus Giglmaier, Project Manager, AM Institute and Research Funding Manager. “Additionally, the cooling rates of more than 1 million °C per second, create high stresses during the solidification process, which can cause micro cracks in the solid material.”

Linde’s pioneering technology and its unrivalled expertise in gas atmosphere control and evaporation suppression during the AM process – including the processing of aluminum-based alloys – overcomes impurities within the print chamber, helping manufacturers to achieve optimal printing conditions. “Characterizing and controlling the gas process during AM not only has the potential to prevent evaporation losses, but also to accelerate the entire printing process,” explains Thomas Ammann, Expert Additive Manufacturing at Linde. “Using a tailor-made gas chemistry for the new alloy would help to control the processes occurring in the melt pool and minimize the compositional changes of the alloys, as well as preventing cracking during printing.”

Campus news presse@tum.de news-35785 Mon, 18 Nov 2019 16:36:23 +0100
Living bridges https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35782/ Inaccessible valleys and ravines lead from the North East Indian Meghalaya plateau to the wide plains of Bangladesh. In the monsoon months the mountain streams in the forests swell into torrential rivers. In order to cross these rivers, the indigenous Khasi and Jaintia peoples have long built their bridges out of the living aerial roots of the Indian Rubber Tree, Ficus elastica. "Stable bridges like these made of closely intertwined roots can reach more than 50 meters in length and exist for several hundreds of years," says Ferdinand Ludwig, Professor for Green Technologies in Landscape Architecture at TUM.

He analyzed 74 such living bridges together with Thomas Speck, Professor for Botanics at the University of Freiburg. "There has already been a lot of discussion of the Living Root Bridges in the media and in blogs, but there have only been a few scientific investigations up to now”, says Ludwig. “Knowledge about the traditional Khasi building techniques has hardly ever been put down in writing in the past," adds Wilfrid Middleton from the TUM Department of Architecture. The researchers conducted interviews with the bridge builders in order to gain a better understanding of the building process. The researchers took several thousand photographs which they then used to create 3D models, providing insight into the complex root structure. The team also mapped the locations of the bridges for the first time.

Research news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-35781 Mon, 18 Nov 2019 14:00:00 +0100
Seventh Humboldt Professorship for TUM https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35778/ Prof. Daniel Rückert has developed trailblazing computational techniques that generate highly informative images from CT and MRI scans, analyze them, and interpret them for improved medical diagnostics. TUM has now succeeded in recruiting this expert in AI-based medicine. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will support his research with one of the prestigious Humboldt Professorships, which comes with a 5 million euro endowment.

With these awards, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is pursuing the goal of attracting leading international scientists to Germany on a long-term basis. In May, Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek announced the goal of creating additional AI-related chairs. Daniel Rückert is one of the first two “Humboldt AI Professors”.

Campus news paul.hellmich@tum.de news-35778 Thu, 14 Nov 2019 12:00:00 +0100
New synthesis approach for soluble silicon clusters https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35779/ Today, the best silicon solar cells in the world have an efficiency of 24 percent. The theoretical limit is around 29 percent. "This is because silicon normally crystallizes in a diamond structure which provides only an indirect band gap," explains Thomas Fässler, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry with Focus on New Materials at the Technical University of Munich.

Researchers thus dream of materials in which silicon atoms are arranged in a manner that creates a direct band gap that they can exploit for solar energy production. The scientists view these small silicon clusters as model compounds for this purpose because the atoms can be arranged differently than in crystalline silicon.

"These kinds of compounds are also interesting for a variety of other chemical experiments," says Professor Fässler. “Using only a few synthesis steps we can now join four and nine silicon atoms into tetrahedrons or near-spherical structures. However, in the past, the synthesis and isolation of the atomic clusters was very laborious. Now, we have taken a significant step forward."

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35779 Thu, 14 Nov 2019 08:57:52 +0100
Volcanoes under pressure https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35776/ Mount Merapi on Java is among the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Geoscientists have usually used seismic measurements which illustrate underground movements when warning the population of a coming eruption in time.

An international team including scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now found another indication for an upcoming eruption in the lava from the peak of Mount Merapi: The uppermost layer of stone, the "plug dome", becomes impermeable for underground gases before the volcano erupts.

"Our investigations show that the physical properties of the plug dome change over time," says Prof. H. Albert Gilg from the TUM Professorship for Engineering Geology . "Following an eruption the lava is still easily permeable, but this permeability then sinks over time. Gases are trapped, pressure rises and finally the plug dome bursts in a violent explosion."

Mount Merapi as a model volcano

Using six lava samples, one from an eruption of Mount Merapi in 2006, the others from the 1902 eruption – the researchers were able to ascertain alterations in the stone. Investigation of pore volumes, densities, mineral composition and structure revealed that permeability dropped by four orders of magnitude as stone alteration increased. The cause is newly formed minerals, in particular potassium and sodium aluminum sulfates which seal the fine cracks and pores in the lava.

The cycle of destruction

Computer simulations confirmed that the reduced permeability of the plug dome was actually responsible for the next eruption. The models show that a stratovolcano like Mount Merapi undergoes three phases: First, after an eruption when the lava is still permeable, outgassing is possible; in the second phase the plug dome becomes impermeable for gases, while at the same time the internal pressure continuously increases; in the third phase the pressure bursts the plug dome.

Photographs of Mount Merapi from the period before and during the eruption of May 11, 2018 support the three-phase model: The volcano first emitted smoke, then seemed to be quiet for a long time until the gas found an escape and shot a fountain of ashes kilometers up into the sky.

"The research results can now be used to more reliably predict eruptions," says Gilg. "A measurable reduction in outgassing is thus an indication of an imminent eruption."

Mount Merapi is not the only volcano where outgassing measurements can help in the timely prediction of a pending eruption. Stratovolcanoes are a frequent source of destruction throughout the Pacific. The most famous examples are Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, Mount St. Helens in the western USA and Mount Fuji in Japan.

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-35776 Wed, 13 Nov 2019 09:58:00 +0100
Insect decline more extensive than suspected https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35769/ Various studies have already demonstrated that there are far fewer creatures chirping, buzzing, creeping and fluttering in German meadows today than 25 years ago. "Previous studies, however, either focused exclusively on biomass, i.e. the total weight of all insects, or on individual species or species groups. The fact that a large part of all insect groups is actually affected has not been clear so far," says Dr. Sebastian Seibold, a scientist with the Terrestrial Ecology Research Group at TUM.

In a large-scale biodiversity study, an international research team headed by scientists at TUM surveyed a large number of insect groups in Brandenburg, Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg between 2008 and 2017. Now the team has published its analysis in the scientific journal “nature”.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35768 Wed, 30 Oct 2019 19:00:00 +0100
Engineering meets philosophy https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35767/ How do we want to define the framework for human-machine relationships? What would a fair economic order look like? Where are the limits of medicine? Whether their area of specialization is engineering, the natural sciences or medicine, experts can act responsibly only if they have explored the ethical issues of their chosen field and have the right tools to discuss them.

To complement the efforts to establish its own activities in the social sciences, TUM has now secured a partnership with the Munich School of Philosophy (HFPH), one of the most respected institutions in its field, to help students broaden their educational horizons. The partners also plan to allow HFPH students to enrol for courses across the broad range of subject areas offered at TUM. In addition, they intend to intensify their cooperation in research.

Campus news klaus.becker@tum.de news-35767 Mon, 28 Oct 2019 17:00:00 +0100
Veronika Somoza succeeds Thomas F. Hofmann https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35758/ Campus news news-35758 Fri, 25 Oct 2019 10:23:00 +0200