University of Innsbruck

Focus cli­mate com­mu­ni­ca­tion: Pro­ject PEAK launched

The University of Innsbruck is enhancing its science communication in the fields of climate, biodiversity, and sustainability. A key development in this initiative is the creation of a new online platform, designed to showcase the university's extensive scientific expertise. This platform, part of the 'PEAK' project (Perspectives on Engagement, Accountability, and Knowledge), offers insights into current research and includes a growing database of expert profiles.

Quan­tum tool opens door to uncharted phe­nom­ena

Scientists led by Peter Zoller have developed a new tool for the measurement of entanglement in many-body systems and demonstrated it in experiments. The method enables the study of previously inaccessible physical phenomena and could contribute to a better understanding of quantum materials. The work has now been published in Nature.

Univer­sity of Inns­bruck focuses on Mastodon

The communications team at the University of Innsbruck will increasingly rely on the microblogging service Mastodon for science communication. Mastodon is a non-commercial and data protection-friendly platform with functions similar to the former Twitter. For this purpose, an instance has been created at on university servers, which is open to the university's organizational units. The active use of X will be significantly reduced.

From Glaciers to Rain­fall: Ten Years in the Andes

Scientists at the University of Innsbruck have been studying the water cycle and glaciers in the Andes near Huaraz in northern Peru for a long time. They recently documented a previously unreported rainfall phenomenon. These light rainfalls, known locally as "Pushpa", mark the beginning of the sowing season. Their unpredictability from one year to the next complicates matters for farmers, a situation potentially worsened by climate change.

Sus­tain­abil­ity of arti­fi­cial snow on ski-slopes

Researchers from the Universities of Innsbruck and Waterloo have studied the environmental impact of artificial snowmaking and its effect on the sustainability of ski tourism with Canada as an example. High water and energy consumption and the associated CO2 emissions are a burden on the environmental balance sheet; energy from renewable sources can make winter sports considerably more sustainable.

Ice cliffs as an early warn­ing sys­tem for the cli­mate

It is rare to find glaciers bounded on land by vertical ice cliffs. These ice cliffs respond with particular sensitivity to environmental changes. Research teams from Tyrol and Styria are investigating ice formations at a site in the far north of Greenland. The researchers intend to draw conclusions about the development of the Arctic climate based on the changes in the glacier walls. 

Inter­act­ing polarons

In physics, quasiparticles are used to describe complex processes in solids. In ultracold quantum gases, these quasiparticles can be reproduced and studied. Now, for the first time, Austrian scientists led by Rudolf Grimm have been able to observe in experiments how Fermi polarons – a special type of quasiparticle – can interact with each other. Their findings have been published in Nature Physics.

Deep look into the dipo­lar quan­tum world

In a groundbreaking collaboration, two world-leading research groups, one led by Francesca Ferlaino and one by Markus Greiner, have joined force to develop an advanced quantum gas microscope for magnetic quantum matter. This state-of-the-art instrument reveals intricate dipolar quantum phases shaped by the interactions as reported in Nature.

El Niño's Chang­ing Pat­terns: Human Influ­ence on Nat­u­ral Vari­abil­ity

Two recent scientific studies led by Dr. Paul Wilcox from the Department of Geology at the University of Innsbruck provide new insights into Earth's climate dynamics, with a particular focus on the El Niño phenomenon. The results show how El Niño responds to natural factors over extended periods, while highlighting the increasing role of human activities in shaping this climatic phenomenon in the modern era.

Cross-alpine tran­sit protests

When the large highways crossing the Austrian and Swiss Alps were built, citizens’ movements protesting the transalpine traffic started to form in both countries from the 1970s onwards. They found common ground in blaming EU policy but overall employed distinct methods, also with varying success, and never really joined forces. In a recent project, historians in Innsbruck, Basel and Munich made these two environmental initiatives the subject of their comparative research. 

New Course: A Mul­tidis­ci­plinary Jour­ney into Gen­er­a­tive AI

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is on everyone's lips. In response to this hot topic, the Digital Science Center (DiSC) has designed an interdisciplinary course specifically aimed at giving students a basic understanding of the underlying principles of this technology and its far-reaching impact on various fields. It will start in the coming winter semester.

Statis­tics of the invis­i­ble

In order to obtain information about dark matter and dark energy from the huge amounts of data to be generated by the new ESA probe Euclid, Innsbruck astrophysicist Laila Linke and her team are using novel statistical methods. As soon as Euclid sends its first data to Earth, the researchers intend to have a tool ready to gain new information on the most important questions concerning the invisible side of the cosmos.

Glacier Loss Day indi­cates record break­ing glacier melt

In the summer of 2022, one of Tyrol's largest glaciers experienced its most significant loss of mass on record. Last year, the Hintereisferner in Tyrol, Austria, reached its Glacier Loss Day (GLD) earlier than ever before. The GLD serves as an indicator of a glacier's health throughout the year, similar to how the Earth Overshoot Day measures Earth's resource consumption. Annelies Voordendag, together with a team of glaciologists at the Department for Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences at the University of Innsbruck, employs cutting-edge laser scanning techniques to determine the GLD.

ERC Grant for Bio­di­ver­sity Research

For his research on the influence of biodiversity on long-term forest dynamics, Rubén D. Manzanedo has been awarded a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Currently a researcher at ETH Zurich, Dr. Manzanedo applied for the grant, which is endowed with around 1.5 million euros, through the University of Innsbruck.

Learn mod­el­ing and sim­u­la­tion

How to prepare for the third pillar of science - let's call it computing or simulation? How to keep up with the ever-evolving computational tools relevant to one’s field of studies? This winter term, the Extension Programme Scientific Computing (EPSC) is back for its second year, offering 7 lectures on how to approach these challenges for modern scientists and professionals.

Pav­ing the way for advanced quan­tum sen­sors

Quantum physics has allowed for the creation of sensors far surpassing the precision of classical devices. Now, several studies in Nature show that the precision of these quantum sensors can be significantly improved using entanglement produced by finite-range interactions. Innsbruck researchers led by Christian Roos were able to demonstrate this enhancement using entangled ion-chains with up to 51 particles.

Third “DK-X-Change” in Ober­gurgl

Interdisciplinary writing and networking imbedded in the beautiful scenery of Obergurgl was the setting for the third DK-X-Change. In a well established cooperation between the Transfer Office Science - Economy - Society, the Writing Center of the ULB Tirol and the research area EPoS, 28 PhDs and 15 faculty members were invited to work together on their individual projects. The participants also used the time up at the Universitätszentrum Obergurgl to conquer a variety of possibilities to learn about each other and participate in an array of additional events.

Mul­tidis­ci­plinary intro­duc­tion to Europe

Aurora's "Understanding Europe" program offers undergraduate students of all disciplines the opportunity to receive a multidisciplinary introduction to the history, politics, societies, arts and popular culture of Europe. At the same time, the program also allows students to visit partner universities.

Sci­en­tists develop fermionic quan­tum pro­ces­sor

Researchers from Austria and USA have designed a new type of quantum computer that uses fermionic atoms to simulate complex physical systems. The processor uses programmable neutral atom arrays and is capable of simulating fermionic models in a hardware-efficient manner using fermionic gates. The team led by Peter Zoller demonstrated how the new quantum processor can efficiently simulate fermionic models from quantum chemistry and particle physics.

UNO-Inns­bruck Inter­na­tional Sum­mer School at Swarovski

In July, the UNO-Innsbruck International Summer School took place for the 46th time at the University of Innsbruck. Once again, Swarovski invited the students of the International Management and Marketing courses to a teaching exchange focused on sustainability.

RNA-drug inter­ac­tions

How active compounds affect RNA and thus the expression of genes is of great interest for the development of potential therapeutics. Innsbruck chemists have now used a method they recently developed to study the binding of the aminoglycoside Neomycin B to a so-called mRNA riboswitch.

The car­bon cycle is speed­ing up

Soil is the largest natural carbon storage in the world. In Northern ecosystems particularly large amounts of carbon are stored, but they are also particularly strongly affected by global warming. A recently published study by an international team led by Michael Bahn of the University of Innsbruck investigated how ongoing warming affects the uptake and release of carbon dioxide in subarctic grassland. The researchers used a geothermally active area in Iceland as a natural „climate chamber”.

Rainer Blatt awarded Her­bert Walther Prize

During the World of Photonics Congress in Munich, Rainer Blatt was presented with the Herbert Walther Prize 2023. He received the award for his outstanding contributions to quantum optics and quantum information as well as his leading role in advancing this research field.

Chip with Aus­trian quan­tum archi­tec­ture oper­a­tional

The Japanese IT group NEC has built the first quantum processor with the ParityQC architecture. The Parity technology was invented at the University of Innsbruck and is being further refined and marketed by the quantum spin-off ParityQC. NEC is now making the quantum computer, which specializes in optimization problems, available to the scientific community via the cloud.

Nega­tively charged and yet pretty cold

Anions, negatively charged ions, are reluctant to be cooled. Physicists led by Matthias Weidemüller from Heidelberg University and Roland Wester from the University of Innsbruck have now developed a method for cooling molecular anions to below 3 Kelvin in a remarkably short time. This enables, for example, new investigations of chemical reactions in space.

A new strat­egy enables molec­u­lar diver­sity

The research group led by chemist Thomas Magauer has accomplsihed a divergent strategy to synthesize nine complex natural compounds. The developed method requires significantly less time and results in a variety of compounds with different structures and biological properties.

Wittgen­stein Award for quan­tum physi­cist Hans Briegel

Hans J. Briegel, a physicist researching at the intersection of quantum information, machine learning and philosophy, was awarded Austria's highest science prize, the Wittgenstein Prize, on Thursday. Briegel is "one of the most creative researchers in a field in which Austria plays a leading role," said the international jury.

Work­shop: “Sus­tain­abil­ity in a chang­ing legal order”

As part of the seminar "Sustainability in Constitutional, European and International Law", Prof. Esther Happacher, Prof. Walter Obwexer (both University of Innsbruck) and Prof. Jens Woelk (University of Trento) organised an Open Workshop on "Sustainability in a changing legal order" on 26 May 2023.

Alps: Light­ning activ­ity dou­bled in a few decades

In the high altitudes of the European Eastern Alps, the number of detected lightning strikes has doubled in the course of the last 40 years. Causes for this are to be found in the effects of the climate crisis. A team of Innsbruck researchers from the Departments of Geosciences, Atmospheric Sciences and Statistics has now published their findings in the journal Climate Dynamics.

Moral­ity and com­pe­ti­tion in sci­ence

How does competition influence moral behaviour? Studies have so far found evidence for both a negative and a positive influence of competition on moral behaviour. Researchers from Innsbruck, Vienna, Stockholm and Amsterdam are using this unanswered question in a meta-study to investigate the extent to which different study designs can be responsible for variability in scientific results. The study was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Quan­tum mat­ter: Tun­ing den­sity waves

Scientists from the University of Innsbruck, together with colleagues from the EPFL, have found a new way to create a crystalline structure emerging as a “coherent matter density wave” in an atomic gas. The findings help to better understand the intriguing behavior of quantum matter close to absolute zero temperature.

Boost for the quan­tum inter­net

A quarter of a century ago, theoretical physicists at the University of Innsbruck made the first proposal on how to transmit quantum information via quantum repeaters over long distances which would open the door to the construction of a worldwide quantum information network. Now, a new generation of Innsbruck researchers has built a quantum repeater node for the standard wavelength of telecommunication networks and transmitted quantum information over tens of kilometers.

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