Max Planck Lecture

The Max Planck Lecture is commonly organized by the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research and the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research. Every year two experts of their research field present their activities and results during this advanced lecture.


Max Planck Lecture

10411 1498820826

The Three Pillars of Fully Autonomous Driving


Max Planck Lecture

Superconductors Old and New

Solid State Physics is a field which continuously renews itself through the discovery of new materials and new phenomena. This has been particularly true for the subfield of superconductivity. We will review the progress in this field from Kammelingh Onnes's discovery of superconductivity in mercury in 1911 to the Bednorz-Mueller ground breaking discovery of high temperature superconductivity in the lamellar copper oxides in 1986 to recent work on the Fe arsenides and selenides. Research on superconductivity has produced theoretical insights which have implications not only for superconductivity itself but for systems as varied as liquid crystal gels to the fundamental constituents of the universe. [more]

Max Planck Lecture

5027 1465285679

On the Nonlinear Dynamics of Collective Decision-Making in Nature and Design

The successful deployment of complex, multi-agent systems requires well-designed, agent-level control strategies that accommodate sensing, communication, and computational limitations on individual agents. Indeed, many applications demand system-level dynamics to be robust to disturbance and adaptive in the face of changes in the environment. Remarkably, animal groups, from bird flocks to fish schools, exhibit just such robust and adaptive behaviors, even as individual animals have their own limitations. To better understand and leverage the parallels between networks in nature and design, a principled examination of collective dynamics is warranted. I will describe an analytical framework based on nonlinear dynamical systems theory for the realization of collective decision-making that allows for the rigorous study of the mechanisms of observed collective animal behavior together with the design of distributed strategies for collective dynamics with provable performance. [more]

Max Planck Lecture

Ultracold atoms as quantum simulators for new materials – synthetic magnetic fields and topological phases

When atoms are cooled to nanokelvin temperatures, they can easily be confined and manipulated with laser beams. Their interactions can be tuned with the help of magnetic fields, making them strongly or weakly interacting, repulsive or attractive. Crystalline materials are simulated by placing the atoms into an optical lattice, a periodic interference pattern of laser beams. Recently, synthetic magnetic fields have been realized. With the help of laser beams, neutral atoms move around in the same way as charged particles subject to the magnetic Lorentz force. These developments should allow the realization of quantum Hall systems and topological insulators with ultracold atoms. [more]

Max Planck Lecture

275 1425909600

Aerial Robot Swarms

Abstract: Autonomous micro aerial robots can operate in three-dimensional, indoor and outdoor environments, and have applications to search and rescue, fi rst response and precision farming. I will describe the challenges in developing small, agile robots and the algorithmic challenges in the areas of (a) control and planning, (b) state estimation and mapping, and (c) coordinating large teams of robots. Vijay Kumar is the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelors of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the Faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics since 1987 with a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer and Information Science and Electrical and Systems Engineering. He was the assistant director for robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Offi ce of Science and Technology Policy from 2012–2014. Dr. Kumar‘s research interests are in robotics, specifi cally multirobot systems, and micro aerial vehicles. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2003), a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (2005) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (2013). [more]

Max Planck Lecture

276 1400767200

The Glassy State properties and applications exploiting non-crystallinity: golf, frozen frogs, memory

Glasses, lacking the order of crystals, are in many ways still regarded as poorly understood. Yet glasses, lacking the complications of different crystallographic symmetries, also show some remarkable correlations of diverse properties. Modern studies show the wide range of possibilities for exploiting the glassy state — and that state is certainly not confined to conventional silicate systems (familiar in windows, spectacles and drinking vessels). This talk will focus on more exotic glassy systems. A few of these will be presented, touching on such questions as: how to do better at golf, how not to freeze (or indeed desiccate) to death, and how to improve your (computer’s) memory. The scientific focus is on the comparison of, and transitions between, crystalline and glassy states, treating questions of crystal nucleation and growth. The aim is to show that these questions are not only of fundamental scientific interest; they have important practical applications in structures, medicine and information technology. [more]

Max Planck Lecture

277 1381395600

Some small steps toward Artificial Life

No one has successfully defined life but the properties we often associate with living things are motility, metabolism and self-replication. According to the Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman: “What I can’t create, I don’t understand”. We thought we’d give it a shot - understanding life - and in the process we’ve made two different systems, one that exhibits both autonomous motility and metabolism and another which is the first artificial system which can replicate arbitrarily designed motifs. The first system, artificial swimmers, provides insight into many natural phenomena such as a flocking of birds and schooling of fish. The second system uses diurnal cycles of temperature and light and at present is doubling each cycle, growing exponentially. It provides a new way of producing many, many copies of nanoscale devices and may give insights into the origin of conventional life on earth. [more]

Max Planck Lecture

280 1348650000

Progress on biologically-inspired microrobots

As the characteristic size of a flying robot decreases, the challenges for successful flight revert to basic questions of fabrication, actuation, fluid mechanics, stabilization, and power – whereas such questions have in general been answered for larger aircraft. When developing a flying robot on the scale of a common housefly, all hardware must be developed from scratch as there is nothing "off-the-shelf" which can be used for mechanisms, sensors, or computation that would satisfy the extreme mass and power limitations. This technology void also applies to techniques available for fabrication and assembly of the aeromechanical components: the scale and complexity of the mechanical features requires new ways to design and prototype at scales between macro and MEMS, but with rich topologies and material choices one would expect in designing human-scale vehicles. With these challenges in mind, this talk will present progress in the essential technologies for insect-scale robots. [more]

Max Planck Lecture

281 1318582800

Evolution of cooperation

Cooperation implies that one individual pays a cost for another to receive a benefit. Cost and benefit are measured in terms of reproductive success. Cooperation is useful for construction in evolution: genomes, cells, multi-cellular organisms, animal and human societies are consequences of cooperation. Cooperation can be at variance with natural selection. Why should you help competitors? I present five mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation: kinselection, direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocity, spatial selection and group selection. Direct reciprocity means there are repeated interactions between the same two individuals and my behavior towards you depends on what you have done to me. Indirect reciprocity means there are repeated interactions within a group and my behavior towards you also depends on what you have done to others. I argue that indirect reciprocity is the key mechanism for understanding pro-social behavior among humans and has provided the right selection pressure for the evolution of social intelligence and human language. [more]

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