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Topics in March

Mar 30, 2011

Strengthening Plants at the Roots

Changing the hormone balance of plants can promote the growth of a more intensive root system. The root system of the wild-type Arabidopsis plant (left) compared with the root system of the modified Arabidopsis plant (right).

Developmental biologists at Freie Universität have developed plants with roots that accumulate more minerals in the sprout and are more resistant to drought.

Plants that need less fertilizer, plants that can thrive even with less water and bring high yields – plant researchers and growers have been working toward this goal for a long time, indeed long before global climate change became noticeable. Researchers at the Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences, a focus area at Freie Universität Berlin, have now succeeded in specifically modifying the growth of plants’ roots so that the plants are better able to exploit nutrients in the soil and to withstand dry periods.

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Giving Mathematics a Face

The mathematician Günter M. Ziegler has recently accepted an appointment at Freie Universität and heads the discrete geometry group.

Günter M. Ziegler appointed professor of discrete geometry at Freie Universität starting in March

The press hails him as a “math guru,” his publisher calls him “Germany’s smartest math professor,” and his subject has been called “8,000 percent cool.” Günter M. Ziegler has made a major contribution to the more positive image math now enjoys among the public. Amid all this, he still makes sure to have time for actual calculations, as he shows in his activities, including as the head of the 25-person Discrete Geometry Working Group, which he brought with him from Technische Universität Berlin to the Dahlem campus of Freie Universität.

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Studying Bees in Düppel

Checking the beehive: Professor Ralf Einspanier explains the structure of the hive to doctoral students Katrin Miessen (wearing beekeeper protection), Katja Hasse (2nd from right), and Martine Bittel (far right).

As soon as air temperatures rise to 8°C (46°F), bees take to the air.

Alongside horses, cows, sheep, and pigs, honeybees are also a productive kind of animal. The flying pollinators ensure high yields for crops and fruit. At the Düppel campus of Freie Universität, students of veterinary medicine can now learn everything they need to know about beekeeping and honey production up close and personal, right at the beehive.

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