Issue 4 | 2023

5. December 2023

What makes a planet habitable? How do you keep it habitable, how do you develop life, and what strategic decisions put it in danger? Members of the HITS research group “Stellar Evolution Theory” have tackled these existential questions and developed a board game that combines astronomy and the climate crisis. The international team was awarded a prize for the idea in a competition for the German Science Year “Our Universe.”  The online version is already available, and the prototype of the board game has also been completed.

Collagen, the most abundant protein in our bodies, is a fascinating object – at least for the researchers of the Molecular Biomechanics group: They have revealed how the rupture of weak sacrificial bonds within collagen tissue helps to localize damage caused by excessive force, minimize negative impacts on the wider tissue, and promote recovery. Their findings have been published in the journals “Nature Communications” and “Angewandte Chemie.”

In the “Beyond the Limits” section, you will find an interview with the Indian-American science journalist and book author Anil Ananthaswamy, who was the HITS Journalist in Residence 2023 and spent six months at the institute. He reveals his thoughts and impressions about HITS, Heidelberg, and Germany.  

About HITS

HITS, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, was established in 2010 by physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural, mathematical, and computer sciences. Major research directions include complex simulations across scales, making sense of data, and enabling science via computational research. Application areas range from molecular biology to astrophysics. An essential characteristic of the Institute is interdisciplinarity, implemented in numerous cross-group and cross-disciplinary projects. The base funding of HITS is provided by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.

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