TUM – Latest news https://www.tum.de Latest news of TUM en TUM Wed, 12 Aug 2020 00:56:00 +0200 Wed, 12 Aug 2020 00:56:00 +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
How stony-iron meteorites form https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36181/ "Pallasites are the optically most beautiful and unusual meteorites," says Dr. Nicolas Walte, the first author of the study, in an enthusiastic voice. They belong to the group of stony-iron meteorites and comprise green olivine crystals embedded in nickel and iron. Despite decades of research, their exact origins remained shrouded in mystery.

To solve this puzzle, Dr. Nicolas Walte, an instrument scientist at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ) in Garching, together with colleagues from the Bavarian Geoinstitute at the University of Bayreuth and the Royal Holloway University of London, investigated the pallasite formation process. In a first, they succeeded in experimentally reproducing the structures of all types of pallasites.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36180 Tue, 28 Jul 2020 16:36:19 +0200
TUM strengthens Campus Heilbronn with informatics https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36178/ TUM and the community service foundation Dieter Schwarz Stiftung have signed an endowment agreement for 11 chairs in various informatics fields. They will be fully funded by the foundation, including resources and infrastructure, for an initial period of 30 years. Nine of the chairs will be located at the TUM Campus Heilbronn and two others at TUM's Garching campus. Two years ago the Dieter Schwarz Stiftung endowed 20 chairs in management sciences at TUM, including 13 in Heilbronn. With the expansion of this commitment – unique in Germany – 22 TUM professors will be teaching and doing research in Heilbronn. The funds are not subject to any conditions, with the endowment agreement governed by the TUM Fundraising Code of Conduct, which rules out any influence on research and teaching by parties providing funding.

Campus news klaus.becker@tum.de news-36178 Tue, 28 Jul 2020 10:00:00 +0200
European and American maize: same but different https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36174/ The maize genome tells an intriguing story about domestication and the shaping of the genome by human selection. Around 10,000 years ago, Native Americans started to domesticate maize in what is Mexico today. They created the basis for one of today’s most important sources of food for both humans and livestock. After the discovery of the “new world” by Columbus, maize was brought from the Americas to Europe. Maize adapted to new growing and climate regimes through directed breeding and selection and finally spread around the globe.

Due to its history, today’s maize lines do not only differ in appearance, their genome contains many differences (presence and absence of genes as well as structural variations). In 2009, researchers decoded the genome of the North American maize accession “B73”. This reference sequence, however, only covers a small part of the global maize genome (pan-genome) and is of limited use as a benchmark for European lines. In order to improve maize breeding and adapt to climate change, basic research on the genome of other maize lines is needed.

Research news Katharina.Baumeister@tum.de news-36173 Mon, 27 Jul 2020 14:49:45 +0200
New AI platform makes debut at automatica https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36171/ How can AI-assisted work be made safer and more productive? How can we use robotics and AI today to meet current and future challenges in the areas of healthcare and mobility? And how might a responsible use of these new technologies look?

Munich-i, a new AI platform jointly developed by MSRM and Messe München, aims to answer these questions. For the automatica trade show, which will take place at Messe München in December 2020, MSRM has planned a wide-ranging program under the heading "intelligence empowering tomorrow". The honorary patron will be the Bavarian minister president Dr. Markus Söder.

Event christine.lehner@tum.de news-36170 Mon, 27 Jul 2020 08:40:59 +0200
More effective sharing of research data https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36169/ Research news paul.hellmich@tum.de news-36169 Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:25:21 +0200 TU9 calls for 500 million euros in digital pact for higher education https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36149/ Germany's TU9 universities, including the Technical University of Munich (TUM), want to use the experience gained handling the impact of the Corona pandemic during this summer semester as an opportunity to revitalize teaching and learning. According to TU9, the goal is to consolidate positive experiences with digital teaching and to find the ideal combination of digital formats and on-campus classes, leveraging the strengths of each format. This combination creates significantly more room for interaction, projects and discourse. TU9 adds that the university, as the center of learning, teaching and research, is becoming more than ever a center of lively interaction and diverse encounters.

In order to keep the universities from diverting already strained resources from other areas of development, the TU9 is demanding a national digital pact for higher education, as formulated by the ministers of science in the German states, providing for 500 million euros in federal funding. The TU9 alliance thus joins the ministers in calling for this support.

The pact is to ensure permanent investments in spatial and technical infrastructure, fostering innovative spaces for encountering new teaching and learning formats, attractive continuing education as well as development of codes of conduct for digital interactions and strong university didactics. Furthermore, modified mobility concepts and new ideas for easy access to the courses offered by other universities are required. Combining on-campus and complementary digital teaching formats would give both students and teachers new freedoms and enable more flexible organization of both studies and curricula.

Campus news news-36149 Tue, 21 Jul 2020 14:21:15 +0200
Thought-provoking ideas for the post-corona era https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36148/ Along with active researchers, the authors of “Wissenschaft, Vernunft, Nachhaltigkeit – Denkanstöße für die Zeit nach Corona” (Science, common sense, sustainability – ideas for post-COVID times) include many of TUM's “Emeriti of Excellence”. Their common goal: To apply their specialized expertise to shape a more human-centered future. Key issues include: How do we define accountability and sustainability in the context of politics, the economy and society? What do we mean by sustainable innovations in technology, communication and education? How can digitalization and artificial intelligence help us to address these big challenges?

Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, the president of the German parliament, Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder, and TUM President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann contributed forewords to the collection, which is available as a free download. It is to be the first in a series of essay collections on sustainability issues entitled “TUM Forum Sustainability”.

Covid-19 Campus news news-36148 Mon, 20 Jul 2020 16:13:13 +0200
First shaft power plant connected to the grid https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36147/ A source of renewable energy, hydropower plants can contribute to climate mitigation efforts, but they also cause problems for the natural environment. In conventional run-of-river power plants, the water is diverted to a power house in order to drive the turbine. This strong current can drag fish towards the plant turbine and grids, where they are at risk of being injured or killed. Natural habitats, fish migration routes and riverbank landscapes are damaged. Therefore, the environmental standards for new plants are virtually impossible to fulfill in Germany and many other countries.

A team at the Chair of Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering at TUM decided to develop a hydropower plant that would have a significantly lower impact on the natural environment. With this new plant design, there is no need to divert the course of the river. Instead, a shaft housing the turbine and the generator is dug into the river bed upstream of a weir. The water flows into the shaft, drives the turbine, and is then returned to the river under the weir. A smaller part of the water flows over the shaft and past the weir.

The engineers have managed to control the current so that the power plant can efficiently produce electricity while minimizing the formation of vortices in the shaft. Numerous tests on a prototype have shown that most fish are able to swim safely over the shaft. What is more, two openings in the weir allow them to migrate downstream unharmed, while upstream migration is facilitated by an ordinary fish pass.

Entrepreneurship Research news klaus.becker@tum.de news-36145 Mon, 20 Jul 2020 10:15:00 +0200
TUM launches hyperloop research program https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36144/ The Hyperloop is a transport system concept for a high-speed train moving at close to the speed of sound in a tube maintained at a partial vacuum. It was first proposed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk. In the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, student teams from around the world were invited to compete with their pods – as the passenger capsules traveling through the tube are to be called.

In every running of the competition to date, the TUM Hyperloop team has come out far ahead of all competitors. The TUM students posted the current record of 482 km/h in the most recent contest in July 2019.

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36144 Fri, 17 Jul 2020 10:30:00 +0200
Making balanced decisions https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36143/ Animals have an innate preference for certain scents and tastes. Attractive scents are linked to things like good food. Less attractive scents – that of spoiled food, for example – instinctively give the animal a signal which says: “There could be danger here!” When it comes to taste, all animals have similar preferences: Sugars and fats are perceived positively, whereas a bitter taste is perceived rather negatively. 

In order to be able to make such evaluations, we need signals in the brain that tell us “This is good” or “This is bad”. The dopaminergic system in the brain, better known as the reward system, plays an important role in these evaluations. 

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36142 Wed, 15 Jul 2020 07:36:00 +0200
Further decrease in DAX executive pay https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36138/ Management board members with companies listed on the German DAX exchange earned an average of 3.4 million euros in 2019, or 0.3 percent less than in 2018. That means that the average pay of these top executives decreased for the second consecutive year – which was not the case once in the previous decade. During that period, there was a clear upward trend.

Because gross wages increased by 2.6 percent in Germany in 2019, the gap between the earnings of board members and their employees narrowed a little further. When the 2018 and 2019 figures are combined, executive pay declined by 3.8 percent while nominal wages rose by 5.7 percent. Executive pay now exceeds that of rank-and-file staff by a factor of 49, as compared to a multiple of 52 previously.

Research news klaus.becker@tum.de news-36138 Tue, 14 Jul 2020 11:00:00 +0200
Shaping Europe's digital sovereignty https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36137/ The coronavirus crisis has demonstrated the usefulness of digital platforms. They enable us to remain in virtual contact while physically distancing, whether in digital classrooms, the working world or private life. However, the crisis has also shone a bright light on Europe's dependencies in the digital world. The dominant digital platforms are provided by non-European companies. The same applies to the most powerful data infrastructures. Europe and its citizens have little input on the nature and structure of the digital public sphere and thus few opportunities to shape an infrastructure that plays a central role in social life, shaping political consensus, individual freedom and the private sphere, and economic competitiveness.

The project group, which includes TUM President Thomas F. Hofmann and Jan-Hendrik Passoth of the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) at TUM, advocates the creation of a digital ecosystem committed to European values such as privacy, openness and diversity. The group's discussion paper "European Public Sphere – Shaping Europe's Digital Sovereignty", published today, describes the path to such a digital space, where a diverse range of products and platforms can emerge, offering fair and transparent conditions for access and use.

Campus news klaus.becker@tum.de news-36137 Tue, 14 Jul 2020 09:30:00 +0200
Stephan A. Sieber receives Future Insight Prize https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36133/ The discovery of antibiotics has saved millions of human lives. However, in the meantime more and more bacteria have developed resistances to conventional antibiotics. Accordingly research by Stephan A. Sieber, TUM Professor for Organic Chemistry, centers on the development of strategies against this kind of resistant bacteria.

One of Stephan Sieber's central strategies is to look for new potential targets within the bacterial metabolism. Working together with his team he identifies the proteins which are essential to the bacteria's survival. If one of these proteins could be deactivated, it would be possible to starve the bacteria to death.

Another strategy is to prevent the ability of dangerous bacteria to produce toxins. The bacteria would then simply be "disarmed". Since this process does not kill the bacteria, the strategy also avoids the development of resistances.

Campus news battenberg@tum.de news-36132 Mon, 13 Jul 2020 00:01:27 +0200
Recommendations for the agriculture of tomorrow https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36135/ Vera Bitsch is Professor of the Economics of Horticulture and Landscaping. The professorship is located at both the TUM School of Management and the TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan.

Prof. Bitsch conducts research in the fields of agricultural economics and agribusiness management. Her research focuses on sustainability in agricultural value chains. In 2000, Prof. Bitsch accepted a position at Michigan State University. Her roles there involved research, teaching, and extension in the area of human resource management in agriculture. Her extension & outreach program received a prestigious national award by the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) in 2008. Prof. Bitsch joined TUM in 2010.

Campus news Katharina.Baumeister@tum.de news-36135 Mon, 13 Jul 2020 15:43:31 +0200
Secret defence against adenoviruses https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36124/ Human adenoviruses cause conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal illnesses and pneumonia, among other things. In most cases however an infection exhibits no symptoms or only mild symptoms in healthy adults. "Generally speaking, every adult has probably had several adenovirus infections already," says Dr. Sabrina Schreiner. She works at the TUM Institute of Virology and the German Research Center for Environmental Health Helmholtz Zentrum. In the past human viruses, of which more than 85 different variants are currently known, were not considered to be particularly dangerous.

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36123 Mon, 13 Jul 2020 12:08:00 +0200
The battery of the future: intelligent, sustainable, powerful https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36131/ Laptops, cell phones, electric cars: Batteries play an important role in our everyday lives. Meanwhile, as an efficient energy storage technology, they are essential prerequisites for a successful energy transition. At TUM, 12 professorships with different specialist areas from five departments work on battery research, pooling their expertise in the TUM.Battery network. More than 100 scientists are addressing the interdisciplinary challenge of covering the entire value chain.

This extends from basic scientific research in material science to power cell development and process technologies in electrochemistry and electrical engineering through to the integration into manufacturing technologies in engineering. Cooperation with industry promotes the transfer from research results to applications.

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36131 Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:23:08 +0200
Fighting air pollution with artificial intelligence https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36130/ The name sums up what the company is all about: Hawa Dawa basically means "air purity" – in seven different languages. "We have a global focus," explains Karim Tarraf, who co-founded the company in 2016. The vision: combining big data and artificial intelligence to help build a sustainable future for cities. "We want to prove that modern technologies can be implemented in harmony with the environment."

Tarraf became keenly aware of the issue of air purity at an early age. He grew up in Cairo – a city where air pollution is a serious concern. Tarraf's parents are both specialists in respiratory medicine and his brother suffers from asthma. During his M.Sc. studies in management and technology at TUM, Tarraf participated in the interdisciplinary hands-on innovation course THINK.MAKE.START, in which students develop a product in 14 days. As their project, Tarraf and his team chose a portable measurement air pollution sensor for asthma sufferers. 

Entrepreneurship stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36125 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 13:00:00 +0200
European engineering education of the future https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36127/ The EU will fund the project in its "European Universities" program with approximately five million euros over the next three years. The initiative emerges from the EuroTech Universities Alliance, a strategic partnership of Technical University of Denmark (DTU), École Polytechnique (L'X), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Technical University of Munich (TUM) as well as Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. For this project, they have brought two other strong partners on board: Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU). EPFL and Technion, being located in non-EU countries and hence not eligible for funding, will contribute to the implementation of the program.

Campus news news-36126 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 11:06:00 +0200
Effects of Covid-19 on children https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36129/ Do childcare facilities such as crèches and kindergartens and elementary schools pose a risk for the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19? This remains a controversial issue. The six Bavarian university pediatric clinics want to provide an answer. Starting in July, they will work together to conduct tests at approximately 150 selected childcare facilities throughout the state of Bavaria to determine how many children are infected and whether they are showing symptoms. The study will also address other aspects of children's health such as the impact of the pandemic on their wellbeing and the medical care of children. Consequently, the long-term epidemiological survey will look ahead to the future and will scientifically study the re-opening of childcare facilities and schools. 

The medical researchers from Augsburg, Erlangen, Munich, Regensburg and Würzburg will visit crèches, kindergartens and elementary schools to conduct voluntary testing of children between one and 10 years of age, childcare staff and teachers. At TUM, the study will be headed by Prof. Uta Behrends. She is Professor of Pediatric Infectiology and Immunobiology and senior physician at the Clinic and Polyclinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a joint institution of the Klinikum rechts der Isar and the München Klinik Schwabing.

Covid-19 Research news news-36128 Wed, 08 Jul 2020 11:47:38 +0200
How do bacteria build up natural products? https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36121/ Many important drugs such as antibiotics or active agents against cancer are natural products which are built up by microorganisms for example bacteria or fungi. In the laboratory, these natural products can often be not produced at all or only with great effort. The starting point of a large number of such compounds are polyketides, which are carbon chains where every second atom has a double bound to an oxygen atom.

In a microbial cell such as in the Photorhabdus luminescens bacterium, they are produced with the help of polyketide synthases (PKS). In order to build up the desired molecules step by step, in the first stage of PKS type II systems, four proteins work together in changing “teams”.

In a second stage, they are then modified to the desired natural product by further enzymes. Examples of bacterial natural products which are produced that way are, inter alia, the clinically used Tetracyclin antibiotics or Doxorubicin, an anti-cancer drug.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36120 Mon, 06 Jul 2020 15:42:07 +0200