Research

Making science freely available: Open access publishing

The open access movement began 15 years ago. Prof. Stephan Feller, a molecular biologist, and Dr. Stefan Artmann, a private lecturer in philosophy, discuss how it will change science in 2016 and the opportunities and challenges that will arise as a result of its development into an open exchange of specialist publications. It is a topic that occupies both men. Feller is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Open Access Journal “Cell Communication and Signalling”. Artmann, who heads up the presidential office at the Leopoldina, is a member of the working group “Open Access”, part of the priority initiative “Digital Information” of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany.

Ingrid Mertig

“Success means having scientific insight”

If it wasn’t for Professor Ingrid Mertig, Nobel laureate Albert Fert would not be visiting the Weinberg Campus as often as he does. And perhaps Humboldt Professor Stuart Parkin wouldn’t have decided to come to the University of Halle. Mertig has been teaching and conducting research at Martin Luther University for the past 15 years as a professor of quantum theory of the solid state. Here she has built up the key research area “nanostructured materials”, which she has decisively shaped over the years as the spokesperson for the collaborative research centre (CRC) “Functionality of Oxidic Interfaces”.

Fascinated by plants

Humboldt Professor Tiffany Knight studies the changes of ecosystems over long periods of time and the effects that a loss of biodiversity may have on the ecosystem. In February 2016, the affiliation of the renowned US-scientist changed from the Midwestern US to Central Germany. She is now working at the German Center of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig.

University strengthens links with China

2015 has been a busy year for relations between China and Halle. The first Chinese language teacher provided by the Confucius Institute in Beijing has been working at the University of Halle since this April. In May, the University of Halle and the Beijing University of International Business and Economics sealed a partnership. And through the Panda Programme, the University of Halle was represented at the largest education fairs in China.

“nutriCARD” aims to make food healthier

Pizzas, sweets and crisps – we all know that these kinds of food are unhealthy, but we still don’t want to give them up. That is why, rather than focusing on changing our eating habits, researchers from the universities of Halle, Jena and Leipzig have come together in the “nutriCARD” competence cluster to try and make food healthier. By doing so, they hope to prevent cardiovascular diseases in the long term. Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in Europe, but the World Health Organisation says that changing eating habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle could stop the diseases developing in 80 percent of cases.

Robust clay: Chemist from Halle University finds glass needles in thousand-year-old ceramics from Brazil

5000 years ago the Brazilian natives mixed their clay with additional materials for improvement of the resistance and durability of their pottery. An important role played microscopically small glass needles of freshwater tree sponges, which was detected by an international team of researchers led by Dr. Filipe Natalio of the Institute of Chemistry at Halle University.

Working without a desk and office?

Skype, Google Drive and Dropbox: virtual work has never been easier than it is today. Nevertheless, many teams have problems when they only collaborate online. Professor Anne-Katrin Neyer and her colleagues are studying how we can better organise virtual cooperation. In an interview, she explains what to keep in mind when you don’t work in the same office or country.

No clocking off after hours?

Always online, always available. According to a study carried out by the Association of the German Information and Telecommunications Sector, 77 percent of Germany’s workforce is reachable by mobile phone or e-mail after hours by colleagues, managers or customers. Psychologists at Martin-Luther-University in Halle are getting to the bottom of the phenomenon of being constantly available.

The perfect cocoa

ThiNhat Phuong Nguyen has been working on the perfect cocoa for over a year. Cocoa that doesn’t clump and stick. The PhD student turns ice crystals into cocoa tablets at the Chair for Thermal Process Technology. The process could one day be a solution to pharmaceutical problems.