News overview


Newsletter PS-Park 'n' Science, 12th edition, June 2014

English text version of the Park'n'Science newsletter

Table of Contents
Prescription for new medicines
Success story at Potsdam-Golm Science Park
Delving into the past with DNA
Start-ups as think tanks of industry
In person
Park ‘n’ Life


Life Sciences – Kaleidoscope of Life

Water - omnipresent but very special neverthelessThe editors were quick to agree on the main focus for this issue: "Relating to life, perhaps something from the medical field" was the brief.
In line with the structure of the science park, the topics are to be found especially in the preclinical arena or in the field of basic research. The perceptions and approaches taken are as varied as the diverse range of institutions working in this area at the Potsdam-Golm Science Park. Companies that need to make profit – start-ups and also large companies – must position themselves differently than fully financed institutions. This edition features various organisational forms, which each in their own way make up the kaleidoscope.

A solid small company, which developed entirely under its own steam, focuses on the health of our farm animals. Above and beyond the ethical approach, the restricted use of antibiotics makes a contribution to human health.

Cooperating with a strong partner offers the opportunity to implement new ideas quickly and across the board. Two articles are focused on this model which has already resulted in a spin-off. Balanced cooperation between basic research and, specifically, the pharmaceutical industry could pave the way to urgently required new medicines and therefore "health maximisation". How our individual data, our DNA, allows us to journey into the past over many thousands of years is a question that is now being addressed by basic research.

There is one constant in our kaleidoscope: you can turn it whichever way you like – the edges change, but mankind remains at the centre.

I hope you enjoy the issue.
Barbara Buller

Prescription for new medicines

Life expectancy in Germany has almost doubled since 1900. This is partly due to improved treatments and the development of medicines.

The German pharmaceutical industry won fame as the "pharmacy of the world" and became a shining example for the industry in other countries. Despite this, the pharmaceutical industry does not enjoy a good reputation today. It is seen as rich, powerful and scheming. While the industry is not free of blame, this point of view does not go far enough; despite high profits, the fact that the pharmaceuticals industry has been in crisis for a decade is easily overlooked. The companies are increasingly jeopardising their scientific basis. Work on new medicines and vaccinations is stagnating – a state of affairs that is a matter of concern for the general public.

An important reason for this is the fact that the development of new medicines is becoming increasingly expensive. Each new medicine or vaccine costs 500 to 1,300 million euros. This is why the pharmaceuticals industry is currently focused on the development of so-called "blockbuster drugs", which are medicines that generate more than one billion euros per year. Only with drugs such as these can the companies generate rich returns within just a few years – before patent protection expires. These sorts of profits can only be achieved in industrial countries, however.

The original substance and the active ingredient – artemisinic and artemisinin A highly reactive substance, artemisinin is currently also being researched as an active ingredient to combat schistosomiasis and breast cancer. (Photo: U. Kleiner)
The original substance and the active ingredient – artemisinic and artemisinin A highly reactive substance, artemisinin is currently also being researched as an active ingredient to combat schistosomiasis and breast cancer. (Photo: U. Kleiner)

Medicines against diseases such as malaria, which primarily affect people in emerging or developing countries, are therefore unattractive for the pharmaceuticals industry.

One solution often put forward to counter this structural problem (and enforced by the state in India) is to abolish existing patents and subsidise the manufacturers of cheap generic drugs. However, pharmaceutical companies in industrial countries will be even less tempted to embark on expensive research projects in the future if they are then expropriated in some locations.

As is the case for all companies, the pharmaceutical companies are geared to the potential profits of the markets in which they operate. However, this sometimes results in a system malfunction from an overall point of view. Many pharmaceutical companies were optimised with an eye on the balance sheet. Seen from this perspective, research into new medicines is a risk that needs to be minimised, for instance by outsourcing almost all parts of the value chain of such developments to low-wage countries. This indeed saves costs, but by the same token is something of a Pyrrhic victory as it also entails a massive loss of highly qualified employees in industrial countries.

The outlook for the entire industry is just about well-nigh precarious. In Germany, the "pharmacy of the world" is closing, generic drugs are produced cheaply abroad and tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs have already fallen by the wayside in Europe and the USA. At the same time, there is actually an urgent need for truly innovative drugs against cancer, dementia and many other diseases. Vaccines, primarily against malaria, HIV/AIDS and infectious bacterial diseases, are also required in developing countries.

Which leads me to my conclusion: the current market-driven model of drug development is the best approach that I am aware of – but it is not good enough.

We will have to radically rethink our approach: The aim of profit maximisation must be replaced with the aim of "health maximisation". The public sector, which funds research and new developments, should also share in the profits.

There is certainly no lack of expert knowledge in companies and research institutes. My working group at the Max Planck Institute alone is currently working on five new vaccines, including against neglected tropical diseases, which still claim hundreds of thousands of human lives every year.

"New active ingredients" must become part of the social agenda. We have to get used to the idea that the survival of the pharmaceuticals industry, which only seems to be booming on the surface, needs to be safeguarded. And the pharmaceuticals industry has to get used to the idea that there are more values than the one of shares.
Peter H. Seeberger

Success story at Potsdam-Golm Science Park

The founder of Ripac-Labor GmbH, Dagmar Köhler-Repp, is Brandenburg's entrepreneur of the year 2014.

Dagmar Köhler-Repp inspects the progress made at the Ripac Laboratory (Photo: Ripac)
Dagmar Köhler-Repp inspects the progress made at the Ripac Laboratory (Photo: Ripac)

Ripac-Labor GmbH was one of the first tenants to move into the new technology centre GO:IN in 2007. This move was a milestone on the company's road to success. Until that point, the entrepreneur Dagmar Köhler-Repp had already spent long hours working to establish a solid basis for further expansion in the first few years after founding the company in her laboratory at home in her cellar.

Today, Ripac-Labor GmbH employs 22 staff, including three managing directors and six post-doctoral researchers who, in addition to their work on pathogen diagnostics, are focused on developing vaccines for pathogens specific to livestock. Tens of thousands of litres of these vaccines are now produced each year for different species of livestock. The primary focus is on poultry, cattle and pigs; zoo animals are also occasionally included. The company's name gives us a clue as to its focus: Riemerella, Pasteurella, E. coli and Clostridia – these are the strains that the company is specialised in diagnosing and combatting. However, the corresponding vaccines cannot simply be stockpiled and retrieved when required as each farm develops its own unique spectrum of pathogens. With the help of samples sent to the company, this spectrum is analysed in precise detail so that a tailor-made, specific vaccine can be used. In most cases, the effective vaccine is available four weeks after receiving the sample. These vaccinations prevent diseases that would need to be treated with antibiotics to ensure that the problematic use of antibiotics in animal rearing can be reduced considerably.

The prize winner's father, Dr. Bernd Köhler, was the inspiration for this business idea. He established a need for such vaccinations in the course of his work as a vet. Daughter Dagmar Köhler-Repp displayed a keen eye for new fields early on. Despite the fact that the future prospects for graduates studying biology were not considered all that promising when she was at university, she grasped the opportunities offered by the rapidly developing field of microbiology and specialised in "medical microbiology" at the Free University of Berlin. After an intense period of reflection after her studies, she took a crash course in business studies. Then the whole family was roped in. With their common business idea in mind, they set up an officially certified security level 2 laboratory in the cellar of their home. Just four years after official approval, the growing company had become too large for the available space, hence the move to Golm.

The new laboratories at the centre of a scientific environment opened up new opportunities to cooperate on projects and research. Ripac-Labor GmbH was therefore one of the first companies to use MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for this field. This technology had been developed in close cooperation with a neighbouring company on the science park. Dedicated software, not only for managing orders, but for retaining a separate database for the various strains and spectra, was also required. New employees are being signed on for a major joint project that has been approved for early commencement of measures, so that the company is again on the lookout for opportunities for expansion.

Dagmar Köhler-Repp's recipe for success seems surprisingly easy and quite traditional: "I made sure that I felt comfortable with every decision I made and that I remained true to myself. And above all, the product has to be right of course."

Delving into the past with DNA

An excellent biology teacher is "to blame" for the fact that Michael Hofreiter studied this subject and now uses bones, jaws and teeth of animals for his scientific research. He has been professor of general zoology/evolutionary adaptive genomics at the University of Potsdam for six months.

Prof. Michael Hofreiter
Prof. Michael Hofreiter (Photo: K. Fritze)

Michael Hofreiter actually wanted to identify animals and describe them, as they have always interested him more than plants. As a child, he used to breed fish in the cellar at home. He arrived at the scientific topic of ancient DNA somewhat by chance. Ancient DNA refers to DNA that is over 100 years old, such as remains of genetic molecules from archaeological finds. As a student of biology in Munich, Michael Hofreiter had the good fortune to meet the Swedish medic and biologist Svante Pääbo. Pääbo is considered the "father" of ancient DNA and founder of paleogenetics, the field of genetics that deals with the DNA analysis of fossil remains of organisms. He was so fascinated by this research field that he went abroad during his studies and also worked alongside Svante Pääbo in the lab. At that time, the renowned scientist was engaged in research for a project on ancient DNA from dung. And therefore the scientific focus at the beginning of Michael Hofreiter's research career was not on ancient bones, but on 30,000 year old dung from herbivores, which the researchers could use "to learn about the genetics of the animals and the plants they ate. The technology we use also allows us to examine samples that are thousands of decades, or even centuries old." Michael Hofreiter's curiosity is what drives him. He wants to understand how our world works, from atoms to the universe. In terms of his research as a biologist, this means finding out how biological systems work. "We often try to project into the past using modern data," he says. Attempts to explain population migrations can therefore be made. "In contrast, using ancient DNA means that we can look back into the past and observe population migrations almost directly. It also allowed us to gain evidence that a gene flow from Neanderthals to the gene flow of modern humans took place." These discoveries change the established perception of human evolution. The animals that Michael Hofreiter and his team research – elephants, mammoths, cave bears, beavers, grey whales, hyenas and a range of rare predators – depend on the research topic. Michael Hofreiter takes just this approach in his analysis of complete genomes from current, museum and fossil samples at the University of Potsdam. Together with colleagues, he has recently published his research results on cattle farming in China 10,000 years ago in "Nature Communications".

Hofreiter is very impressed by the research conditions at Potsdam. "The new building on the Golm campus is fantastic and the labs are wonderful," he says. Of course, moving from England where he was a professor at the University of York, is not without its difficulties, both private and professional. He takes all the time-consuming bureaucracy and other inconveniences of the move all in his stride and with good humour. After 100 days in Potsdam, Michael Hofreiter does not regret the move here. His impression that "there is a much better research environment here than in England" has been confirmed.
Barbara Eckardt

Start-ups as think tanks of industry

The new start-up company targenomix and Bayer CropScience aim to decode the mechanisms of genes and signal molecules.

The team of targenomix
The team of targenomix (Photo: MPI-KG/J. Baumgartner)

New approaches for breeding high-yield and resistant plant species are the long-term aim. The start-up company targenomix from Golm near Potsdam intends to find out how the numerous components in a cell – genes, RNA molecules, proteins and other metabolic products – interact in their literally unimaginable diversity. The scientists are using computer models at an increasing extent to evaluate large quantities of data. The company, which developed as a spin-off of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm, has now entered into what will probably be a lucrative cooperative partnership with Bayer CropScience.


Honorary doctorate for the president
of the University of Potsdam

Prof. Oliver Günther, Ph.D. received an honorary doctorate from the American Jewish University.

Dr. Robert Wexler, president of the American Jewish University, Prof. Oliver Günther Ph.D., president of the University of Potsdam and rabbi Prof. Bradley S. Artson, dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and vice president of the AJU (Photo: AJU)
Dr. Robert Wexler, president of the American Jewish University, Prof. Oliver Günther Ph.D., president of the University of Potsdam and rabbi Prof. Bradley S. Artson, dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and vice president of the AJU (Photo: AJU)

The president of the University of Potsdam was awarded the title Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, at a graduation ceremony. With this award, the university is recognising the outstanding academic successes of the president of the University of Potsdam, particularly in the field of information systems and during his tenure as a professor of business informatics at the Humboldt University in Berlin. The award not only recognises the large number of publications, for instance in the field of IT strategy, company software, IT architectures and security and data protection, but also reflects the president of the University of Potsdam's great commitment to setting up the School of Jewish Theology, the only institution of its kind in Europe, which commenced its work in the winter semester 2013/14. For the first time ever, Jewish theology is now offered as a course at a German university. The School of Jewish Theology works in close cooperation with the Abraham Geiger College, the Zacharias Frankel College and the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Jewish Studies, thereby offering excellent opportunities for Jewish academic work.

Chemist from the University of Potsdam recognised

The Bunsen-Kirchhoff Award for analytical spectroscopy 2014 went to Dr. Oliver Reich. This prize is awarded by the German Working Group for Applied Spectroscopy (DASp) and the German Chemical Society (GDCh).

Dr. Oliver Reich
Dr. Oliver Reich (Photo: private)

The chemist Dr. Oliver Reich from the University of Potsdam received the Bunsen-Kirchhoff Award for analytical spectroscopy 2014. The award recognises exceptional achievements, especially those made by young scientists in the field of analytical spectroscopy. Oliver Reich is the head of the junior science group at innoFSPEC, a joint project of the Physical Chemistry Institute at the University of Potsdam and the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam working in the field of fibre-optic spectroscopy and sensor technology. Laser-based, fibre-optic photon density wave (PDW) spectroscopy enables fundamental observations of light propagation in strongly scattering materials.

Oliver Reich has been head of the junior science group "Innovative Fibre Sensors" at the innoFSPEC centre since 2009 and researches additional fibre-optic methods alongside the further development of PDW spectroscopy. Oliver Reich founded PDW Analytics GmbH in 2013 and is a managing partner in addition to his academic work.

Prof. Dr. Helmuth Möhwald given two awards

Prof. Peter Fratzl
Prof. Dr. Helmuth Möhwald (Photo: MPIKG/Gnaudschun)

Prof. Helmuth Möhwald, director emeritus of the MPI of Colloids and Interfaces, was awarded the Langmuir Lectureship Award of the American Chemical Society (ACS). He will present his work "From Langmuir Monolayers to Multilayer Films and Capsules" at the ACS autumn conference in August in San Fransisco. In addition the Elyuhar-Goldschmidt Award of the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry (RSEQ) - this year was awarded to Prof. Helmuth Möhwald.




In person

Comings and goings – changes at the Max Planck campus

Two of the three Max Planck institutes at Potsdam-Golm are undergoing changes at the top. Prof. Dr. Bernard Schutz and Prof. Dr. Helmuth Möhwald have both left their mark on the Golm site from the very start. The new scientists Prof. Alessandra Buonanno and Dr. Kerstin Blank take advantage of a well-prepared environment.

After 19 years at the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI), emeritus status is conferred on founding director Bernard Schutz. Professor Alessandra Buonanno, the AEI' directors' candidate of choice and currently professor of physics at the University of Maryland in College Park, will support the leading role of the institute in the area of gravitational wave measurement and research into black holes.

"Prof. Buonanno is held in extremely high regard in the international community of gravitational wave measurement researchers. Her technical expertise is exactly what the institute now needs: in three or four years, we anticipate the first measurement of gravitational waves, and the breadth of her research interests matches the academic program of the institute perfectly," says Prof. Bernard F. Schutz.

Prof. Helmuth Möhwald, one of the founding directors of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, has headed the Interfaces department since 1993. He will stay on at the institute in his capacity as professor emeritus and adviser of the Biomaterials Department. Moreover, he has taken on roles as an adviser of the CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) and as co-editor of the journal ACS Nano. The field of physical chemistry of interfaces at the MPI of colloids and interfaces will be supported from 1 July 2014 by an independent junior research group directed by Dr. Kerstin Blank. Ms. Blank previously was associate professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen and is a proven expert for force and fluorescence measurements of single molecules at interfaces. She studies the impact of mechanical signals on the structure and activity of molecules using a combination of force and florescence methods.

Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno
Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno (Photo: private)
Prof. Peter Fratzl
Dr. Kerstin Blank (Photo: private)


Combined strength for the location

A particular advantage of the Potsdam-Golm Science Park is the close proximity of the university, non-university scientific institutes and the business incubator GO:IN. New products considered in research can quickly enter the market in the first phase through start-ups working in close contact with the scientific community. With attractive conditions on offer to young entrepreneurs, the aim is to create new and promising jobs in the federal state of Brandenburg. Has this plan been successful? Site manager Friedrich Winskowski offers his assessment.

Friedrich Winskowski
Site manager Friedrich Winskowski (Photo: BILDHAUS)

PS: Mr Winskowski, the view from your office is almost idyllic. Flower meadows, fields – I would have expected a technology centre to look somewhat different.

F. Winskowski: This situation is actually not quite according to the plans. Commercial areas and industrial sites for research-based companies with promising jobs are already envisaged in the existing development plan. The development plan 129 currently under discussion also includes an additional 11 hectares of expansion areas for research-based production.

PS: So there's enough space. If you consider the integration into the scientific community and also the convenient location with reasonably good connections by public transport, rail, motorway and airport, you would expect high demand. What is the current situation?

F. Winskowski: There is certainly demand. I receive queries from start-ups as well as young companies on a regular basis. I have to reject them owing to a lack of space. Unfortunately, medium-sized businesses often turn their attention to other locations while we are still in the process of discussing possible opportunities.

PS: Does that mean that authorisation procedures are too slow?

F. Winskowski: On the one hand, the procedures are not well coordinated. The sites belong to the federal state, ZAB and ILB manage the funding and Potsdam is responsible for planning permissions, etc. etc. On the other hand, there is a lack of premises available at short notice. Our GO:IN is operating at full capacity and a new technology centre scheduled to open at this site at the beginning of this year has failed to materialise.
No one accepts central, driving responsibility for this site, and other sites are able to offer better conditions.

PS: What needs to happen in your view?

F. Winskowski: Limiting our demands to more funding would be too simple. A range of funding programmes are on offer which are also being used on site. What is missing are combined measures. Only if we join forces will we be able to compete with locations such as Berlin-Adlershof, Berlin-Buch and transregional business parks.

PS: Could you explain that to us in a little more detail?

F. Winskowski: Tendering funding programmes or stockpiling sites is simply not enough. I have already mentioned that the federal ministries and their institutions are involved in the funding; property administration and approval procedures handled by the city of Potsdam also play a role. This leads to the situation that no institution actually assumes complete responsibility for the location. In addition, Potsdam lacks experience with companies that turn scientific research into tangible products. Moreover, the general conditions for start-ups are not optimal. The sites are expensive in Potsdam and the commercial tax is higher than in the surrounding area. Every euro counts for start-ups. On the other hand, the experience of other centres shows that each euro of funding generates seven euros of tax revenue after a successful start-up! Thanks to the commercial tax they pay, companies strengthen the economy of a city and create future-proof jobs.
To my mind, a concerted effort to establish small and medium-sized businesses is lacking and there is no clear political and economic strategy for the Golm Science Park.

PS: What role does the infrastructure on site play?

F. Winskowski: In view of the current shortage of skilled workers, it is important for every company to offer its employees an attractive and family-friendly environment. Infrastructure elements such as shops, childcare facilities, a high level of mobility including public transport, restaurants, leisure activities, housing, etc. are steadily improving. However, employee satisfaction in Golm as a place to live and work also comes from people's ability to have an influence on and to help shape the local area. To this end, committed Golm residents have drawn up and published an action plan with detailed suggestions in cooperation with representatives from the Science Park and local government. The plan was scheduled for adoption by the local council in September 2013 – we now hope that this will be completed by the end of 2014. If the action plan is adopted, the town could set a positive example of an attractive and forward-looking place to live and work in Potsdam.

PS: Thank you for this interview.

Location map


Fibre research at the Fraunhofer IAP is being expanded with a new wet spinning line

A new wet spinning facility has been on hand at the pilot plant in Potsdam-Golm since March 2014. With this investment in a second facility, the Fraunhofer IAP has reacted to the increased demand from industry and the heightened research demand.

Fibres are used in a variety of applications. Tailor-made fibres are not only in demand in the clothing industry, but also in the automotive and construction industries and manufacturing processes. Requirements may be very different, depending on the way that the fibres are used (including tearproof fibres). The development of environmentally friendly and efficient spinning technologies is the main focus at the Fraunhofer IAP.

Wet spinning line for new fibres at pilot plant scale (Photo: T. Budde)

Bio-based regenerated fibres such as rayon and lyocell are being researched in the institute's biopolymers research field. Unlike petroleum-based, synthetic fibres, they consist of natural polymers such as cellulose. In order to produce a viscose endless fibre, the cellulose must firstly be chemically modified in order to dissolve it. The spinning solution enters the precipitation bath via a nozzle in the spinning system. The so-called continuous filament yarn is created from the individual fibres in further processes. Nozzles with up to 3,000 little holes are used in the newly installed wet spinning line. Each little hole has a diameter of only approximately 50 micrometres, which is roughly the thickness of a human hair. Thanks to the increased number of single fibres, filament yarn can now be produced on a near-industrial scale at the Fraunhofer IAP. Things that work well in the new system can be directly incorporated into the pilot plant scale of the large industrial firms. Using extensive analytical methods such as X-ray scattering, the researchers can also establish how the variations in the manufacturing process impact the structure and properties of the fibres.

The viscose method is the most important method for the production of cellulose chemical fibres. Using carbon disulphide to make these fibres, however, raises concerns about harmful effects on the environment. Therefore, scientists at the Fraunhofer IAP have been researching cellulose carbamates technology as an environmentally friendly alternative for some time. In this method, urea is used as a replacement for carbon disulphide. Work is currently under way to optimise the synthesis, as well as the spinning process, but the head of department for fibre technology Dr. André Lehmann is convinced that the cellulose carbamates method will soon be used on an industrial scale. Another topic is currently occupying the researchers in the field of fibre technology – the production of bio-based carbon fibres. The by-product lignin obtained in pulp production is used here. The lignin's transformation, as well as the subsequently adjusted carbonisation process, are the focus of the research and the method will soon be available as a more environmentally friendly and affordable alternative to the petroleum-based system already established on the market.
K. Begemann

Plants – green factories of the future

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP) are to receive financial support to the tune of €860,000 for the next four years to tap into plant resources as part of the EU research initiative DISCO.

In the production of pharmaceuticals, feed and food supplements, as well as for manufacturing cosmetics plant ingredients have been used for millennia. Active plant components are isolated, extracted and enriched or their composition and structure are used as a construction plan and template in order to replicate them chemically and produce them industrially. Together with cooperation partners from Germany and abroad, researchers around Prof. Ralph Bock will employ new strategies in order to tap into specific plant substance groups for use in medicine or as important food additives or supplements and optimise their production within the plant.

During the project period, new biotechnological methods will be developed and applied in order to use plants as production sites. "If we manage to use plants as green factories, we will not only contribute to sustainable production, but also protect the environment as we will be able to dispense with some chemical synthesis methods in the future," Prof. Bock talks enthusiastically about the project. The term "DISCO" stands for new methods for the sustainable use of bio resources that lead from "DISCOvery" to finished products.
Two plant families appear to be particularly promising for the investigations: Solanaceae such as potato, tomato or tobacco and Iridaceae, which include saffron, a type of crocus. The substances solanesol and scopolamine as well as various carotenoids will be investigated first. Solanesol is a terpenoid that occurs in tobacco and potato leaves and can prevent cancer, is effective against arteriosclerosis and is also used as an anti-ageing agent. The alkaloid scopolamine also occurs in Solanaceae and can relieve pain and ease motion sickness (e.g. seasickness). Carotenoids are a diverse group of plant pigments. They can be used as a feed supplement in aquacultures, as well as sunscreen for skin and to prevent skin ageing.
Methods from "metabolic engineering" will be used and developed further in the project. They will enable the researchers to control the production of specific substances or to transfer entire biosynthetic pathways from one organism to another.

In total, 15 cooperation partners from seven countries are involved in the DISCO project. Scientists from Belgium, Chile, England, Germany, Israel, Italy and Romania are working together to use plants effectively for the production of high-quality active components for human consumption. The project is scheduled to last four years and will receive 6.5 million euros in funding from the European Union (

Ripening tomatoes that produce different carotenoids. Upper panel: The red carotenoid lycopene is synthesised. Lower panel: Instead of red lycopene, orange β-carotene is produced (used by the human body to make vitamin A)


Park ‘n’ Life

Phantom lights on the Reiherberg

The Golm citizens' initiative "Golm unter Strom" (Electrified Golm) is demonstrating the effect of the electromagnetic field of the power line.

A group of committed Golm residents met on the Reiherberg at dawn. They exposed the normal commercial fluorescent tubes that they had brought with them to the electromagnetic field standing beneath the lowest point of the overhead line, at "only" 75 kV – and lo and behold, the lamps actually lit. The heart of the discussion surrounding the planned modernisation or increasing the overhead line to 110 kV was displayed in impressive fashion: the effects of the electromagnetic field that increase with the voltage applied. The effects of electromagnetic fields of this magnitude on humans have not been proven scientifically yet – reason enough to exercise caution for this scheduled alteration.

Pitch Forum 3-D-Labor
The electric field under the high-voltage line makes lamps light up
(Photo: D. Weirauch)

A new routing of the lines outside the locality was negotiated for Marquardt with Edis AG. The underground cabling currently favoured for Golm would incur additional costs of 3.5 million Euros that the city of Potsdam would have to pay for, according to Edis AG. As these costs are not contained in the federal capital's budget, local residents are the last link in the chain. Land owners around the power lines have actually received questionnaires by registered mail/return receipt from the city asking whether they would be prepared "in principle" to help pay the costs in view of the increase in value to their land. As neither numbers, methods of payment or hardship provisions have been made so far, it is doubtful whether people would agree to such an approach. Furthermore, no differentiation is made between business and private interests. If the answer to the questionnaires turns out to be negative, it is certain who will shoulder the blame for the failure of the negotiations.

A visit to Mr Lehmann

Dr Nishant Malik
Golm railway station is still in hibernation – things will liven up in June
(Photo: R. Hoefgen)

"I'm just going to Lehmann" – when people say goodbye to each other in Golm, they do not mean a whistle-stop tour of the neighbourhood, but probably the station. Having been completely gutted, the restaurant "Herr Lehmann" is scheduled to open at the beginning of June with a new interior. It's clear from the start who is vouching for the business with their good name: The new proprietor Lutz Lehmann wants to create an atmosphere with verve and appeal to a wide range of guests. While the area with the straight and plain seating is pleasant for passing the time waiting for a train, there are comfortable corners too for chilling and chatting. The new beer garden next to the establishment is ideal for warm summer evenings, with moorland sheep, beach chairs and tasty morsels from the barbecue, creating an atmosphere at "Reiherberg" in Golm similar to "Friedrichshain and Prenzlberg" in Berlin. In the winter, patrons can head to the cellar for a game of pool. The kitchen is Lutz Lehmann's pride and joy. It was also completely redesigned. Everything from tarte flambee to homemade soups is freshly made, even the "to go" options for those in a hurry.

Perhaps a new location is emerging here in the centre of Golm to invigorate the town in line with the action plan. And perhaps it will become a meeting place for locals on both sides of the railway line.


Inaugural lecture

09/07/2014 – lecture theatre 02.25.F.1.01, 5.30 pm

Prof. Dr. Giovanni Bruno, Institute for Physics and Astronomy/BAM
"From nano to macro: Understanding materials with multi-scale characterisation"

Events on the campus

2014/06/05 – campus football tournament
2014/09/06 – Open Day

at the Potsdam-Golm Science Park

Max Planck Institute

2014/06/20 – Former Members/Alumni Meeting

(MPI Colloid and Interface Research)

Fraunhofer IAP

2014/09/16 and 17 – 14th Schwarzheide Plastics Colloquium

The Kunststoff-Verbund Brandenburg Berlin e.V., in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP and BASF Schwarzheide GmbH, is inviting participants to join the 14th Schwarzheide Plastics Colloquium on 16 and 17 September 2014. Topics this year include elastomers, composites, markets and trends, and news from the world of plastics technology.

Campus Am Neuen Palais

2014/06/14 – Potsdam Science Day, 2 to 9 pm

Golm Church

2014/07/06, 5 pm – Concert by the Campus Jazz Choir