How did the Solar System form? Are we alone in the Universe? What scientific methods can we use to prove the existence of extraterrestrial lifeforms? These questions fascinate scientists and non-scientists alike. Planetary research seeks to find answers.
Joachim Winter remembers his first train ride like it was yesterday: "It was from Lübeck to Travemünde on the Baltic Sea with a steam locomotive, third class in the passenger car. I was travelling by rail before I could walk."
Stefan Trommer knows what kind of person is more likely to drive an electric car, and he is also familiar with the reasons why many people are reluctant to switch to electric mobility. He found this out – together with colleagues – during Germany's largest user study on electromobility.
While some may find it a tongue twister, for Florian Kock it remains a source of fascination and the object of his daily work – the Free-Piston Linear Generator (FPLG). Kock works at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Institute of Vehicle Concepts in Stuttgart, where his task is to develop this new type of engine.
Detecting, assessing and classifying disasters and then informing the world about it is a heavy burden for a 37-year-old who could pass for a 25-year-old student. But Cristina Párraga Niebla is up to the challenge. This is precisely what the EU Alert4All project, which the DLR scientist and project leader brought to a successful conclusion at the end of January 2013, was designed to do.
He is the German paper plane champion, having achieved the longest flight, and has already flown a glider high over Australia. The passionate and vastly experienced competitive glider pilot discovered his love of the sport and of flying in general early on.
Throughout his doctoral thesis, Marc Röger developed a contactless measuring technique, which measures the heat transfer of solar power plant components. It is for this discovery that he was awarded the DLR Wissenschaftspreis (Award for Contributions made to Science).
Holger Hennings was one of the first people to show an interest in wind power. He followed the failure of the large Growian science project and saw how wind power turbines went on to become a surprising success. Today, Hennings works at the DLR site in Göttingen, making wind power turbines safer and more efficient to operate.
Is it actually true that migrating birds sometimes fly in a V-formation because they can take advantage of the wake flow generated by the bird in front? Frank Holzäpfel laughs.
As they enter and exit tunnels, trains generate pressure waves of varying strengths, depending on their speed. Physicist Daniela Heine, from the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology, is investigating how these pressure waves can be mitigated.