Bust of Max Planck

Highlights

Publication Highlights

On the origin of long-range correlations in texts

The complexity of human interactions with social and natural phenomena is mirrored in the way we describe our experiences through natural language. In order to retain and convey such a high dimensional information, the statistical properties of our linguistic output has to be highly correlated in time. An example are the robust observations, still largely not understood, of correlations on arbitrary long scales in literary texts. In this paper we explain how long-range correlations flow from highly structured linguistic levels down to the building blocks of a text (words, letters, etc..). By combining calculations and data analysis we show that correlations take form of a bursty sequence of events once we approach the semantically relevant topics of the text. The mechanisms we identify are fairly general and can be equally applied to other hierarchical settings. Eduardo G. Altmann, Giampaolo Cristadoro and Mirko Degli Esposti PNAS 109 (29), 11582 (2012)
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Institute's News

New research group 'Quantum Aggregates'

The junior research group headed by Dr. Alexander Eisfeld investigates the emergence of collective effects in assemblies of atoms or molecules, with a particular focus on the coupling between electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom.
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Publication Highlights

Uninformed Individuals Promote Democratic Consensus in Animal Groups

Conflicting interests among group members are common when making collective decisions, yet failure to achieve consensus can be costly. Under these circumstances individuals may be susceptible to manipulation by a strongly opinionated, or extremist, minority. It has previously been argued, for humans and animals, that social groups containing individuals who are uninformed, or exhibit weak preferences, are particularly vulnerable to such manipulative agents. Here, we use theory and experiment to demonstrate that, for a wide range of conditions, a strongly opinionated minority can dictate group choice, but the presence of uninformed individuals spontaneously inhibits this process, returning control to the numerical majority. Our results emphasize the role of uninformed individuals in achieving democratic consensus amid internal group conflict and informational constraints. Iain D. Couzin, Christos C. Ioannou, Güven Demirel, Thilo Gross, Colin J. Torney, Andrew Hartnett, Larissa Conradt, Simon A. Levin, Naomi E. Leonard Science 334, 1578 (2011)
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Awards and Honors

Hertha-Sponer-Preis 2011 der DPG

Martina Hentschel vom Dresdner Max-Planck-Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme erhält den mit 3.000 Euro dotierten „Hertha-Sponer-Preis“ der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft. Forschungsschwerpunkt der 39-jährigen Wissenschaftlerin ist die theoretische Beschreibung mesoskopischer elektronischer und optischer Systeme. Ihre Arbeiten sind für die Entwicklung miniaturisierter Laser von praktischer Bedeutung.
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Publication Highlights

A Homonuclear Molecule with a Permanent Electric Dipole Moment

Permanent electric dipole moments in molecules require a breaking of parity symmetry. Conventionally, this symmetry breaking relies on the presence of heteronuclear constituents. We report the observation of a permanent electric dipole moment in a homonuclear molecule in which the binding is based on asymmetric electronic excitation between the atoms. These exotic molecules consist of a ground-state rubidium (Rb) atom bound inside a second Rb atom electronically excited to a high-lying Rydberg state. Detailed calculations predict appreciable dipole moments on the order of 1 Debye, in excellent agreement with the observations. Weibin Li, Thomas Pohl, Jan-Michael Rost, Seth T. Rittenhouse, Hossein R. Sadeghpour, Johannes Nipper, Bjoern Butscher, Jonathan Balweski, Vera Bendowsky, Robert Löw, Tilman Pfau Science 334, 1110 (2011)
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Awards and Honors

Paul Ehrlich- und Ludwig Darmstädter-Nachwuchspreis 2011 der Paul Ehrlich-Stiftung

Wie differenzieren sich Zellen in die verschiedenen Zelltypen, die einen lebenden Organismus ausmachen? Neben molekularen Mechanismen spielen dabei mechanische Prozesse eine wesentliche Rolle. Wie diese Parameter miteinander interagieren, steht im Zentrum der Forschungsaktivitäten von Dr. Stephan Grill. Der Biophysiker hat dazu eine Methode entwickelt, mit der die mechanischen Kräfte in lebenden Zellen gemessen werden können. Mit Hilfe eines Lasers kann er bestimmte Zellstrukturen minimal-invasiv zerstören. Deren Fragmente bewegen sich danach voneinander weg, falls die Struktur unter mechanischer Spannung stand. Auf diese Weise erhält der Wissenschaftler einen Überblick darüber, wo in der Zelle mechanische Kräfte walten.
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Publication Highlights

Polarization of PAR Proteins by Advective Triggering of a Pattern-Forming System

In the Caenorhabditis elegans zygote, a conserved network of partitioning defective 4 (PAR) polarity proteins segregate into an anterior and a posterior domain, facilitated by flows of the cortical actomyosin meshwork. The physical mechanisms by which stable asymmetric PAR distributions arise from transient cortical flows remain unclear. We present evidence that PAR polarity arises from coupling of advective transport by the flowing cell cortex to a multistable PAR reaction-diffusion system. By inducing transient PAR segregation, advection serves as a mechanical trigger for the formation of a PAR pattern within an otherwise stably unpolarized system. We suggest that passive advective transport in an active and flowing material may be a general mechanism for mechanochemical pattern formation in developmental systems. W. Goehring, Philipp Khuc Trong, Justin S. Bois, Debanjan Chowdhury, Ernesto M. Nicola, Anthony A. Hyman, Stephan W. Grill Science 334, 1137 (2011)
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Awards and Honors

Marian-Smoluchowski-Emil-Warburg-Preis 2011 der DPG

Der Dresdner Physiker Peter Fulde, emeritierte Direktor des Max-Planck-Instituts für Physik komplexer Systeme, erhält den deutsch-polnischen „Marian-Smoluchowski-Emil-Warburg-Preis“, der mit 3.000 Euro dotiert ist. Der 74-Jährige wird für seine Beiträge zur Theorie der Festkörperphysik ausgezeichnet. Peter Fulde hat insbesondere zur Erforschung der Supraleitung, des Magnetismus und zum Verständnis „elektronischer Korrelationen“ maßgeblich beigetragen.
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Institute's News

New research group 'Computational Biology and Evolutionary Genomics'

The joint junior research group between our institute and the MPI of Molecular Cellbiology and Genetics is headed by Dr. Michael Hiller and uses computational approaches to link phenotypic differences between species to differences in their genomes, which is key to understand how nature’s phenotypic diversity evolved.
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Institute's News

New research group 'Collective Dynamics of Cells'

The research group headed by Dr. Vasily Zaburdaev develops and applies methods of statistical physics helping to understand complex biological phenomena.
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