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German R&D awards given for peaceful technologies.

Question--what do a computer, a diesel engine, a cell culture, and a polymer have in common? Answer--they all won Germany's most popular technology award, the 1992 Philip Morris Scientific Award "Challenge Future."

Originated in Germany in 1983, four future-oriented projects are annually given the Philip Morris award along with an $18,500 prize. Awards are given for superior achievements in the fields of information and communication, transportation and traffic, man and the environment, and new materials and processing.

Kurt Ammon, a researcher in Hamburg, won this year's award for information and communication with a self-developing computer system. This system is based on the theory of holistic logic, which constructs concepts and methods by analyzing the proofs of simple theorems.

The system then generates proofs of sophisticated theorems on the basis of these simple concepts and methods. Ammon's computer system discovered a proof of a sophisticated theorem in lattice theory whose degree of difficulty represents state-of-the-art in automated theorem proving and is considerably simpler than any known proof.

Ammon's system also discovered a proof of Banach's fixed-point theorem, a powerful theorem in higher analysis functions. This is the first machine discovery of a proof for a theorem in higher mathematics.

Michael Zoche, a researcher at Zoche Antriebstechnik, Munich, won the transportation and traffic award for his diesel-powered aircraft engine.

The compact Zoche aero diesel incorporates the latest cylinder technology as well as refinements like tungsten counterweights and full aerobatic pressure lubrication. Charge air pressure for the diesel is generated by a supercharger and a turbocharger. This reduces power loss at altitude.

Improvements in the mechanical and hydraulic design also reduce the number of parts, simplify plumbing, and improve reliability and efficiency.

All of this results in an engine that uses less costly fuel than gasoline or avgas, is more reliable to operate, and increases the payload, range, and speed of the aircraft.

The lower flammability of the diesel fuel also dramatically reduces the inherent fire hazard of the aircraft.

Will Minuth won the 1992 Philip Morris award in the man and environment category for his development of a new perfusion cell culture system.

This system optimizes the in vitro environment of cultured cells by keeping cells on individual and interchangeable support materials for optimal cell attachment. By continuous superfusion of the cells with medium, a defined nutrient concentration is maintained throughout the culture period.

Alexander Steinbuchel, a researcher at the Institute for Microbiology at the Georg-August Univ., Gottingen, was awarded the Philip Morris award in the new materials and processing category for his bacterial Production of a biodegradable polyester.

Steinbuchel's polyester research is related to the cloning of genes involved in the synthesis Of poly(3-hydroxybutyric acid) (PHB). These genes are closely linked on a small DNA fragment, which provides a cartridge to establish the PHB-synthetic pathway to other organisms.

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Title Annotation:Focus on German Technology
Publication:R & D
Date:May 1, 1992
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