Stable isotopes are a tool that can be used in a wide range of areas in natural sciences and medicine as, with their help, it is possible to establish the origin of substances, and dynamic processes can be made visible.
For example, it is possible to establish where a red wine really comes from, the cause of water damage, how the concentration of carbon dioxide at the South Pole evolved, whether microorganisms break down pollutants in soil and water or the effects a medication has on the body. Just like with criminal investigators, stable isotopes help environmental researchers to follow traces and solve mysteries.
The research on stable, i.e. non-radioactive, isotopes has been carried out in the Leipzig Science Park for more than half a century and brings together scientists from a range of disciplines.
Leipzig has a long tradition of research in this area. In the 1960s a special institute for stable isotopes was built on the former research site of the GDR's Academy of Sciences at Permoserstraße. The 40-metre tower, which can still be seen from far away today, was used for many years to enrich a range of stable isotopes, with 15N the most important. The UFZ today uses research with stable isotopes in a number of fields.Stable isotopes a kind of "Swiss Army Knife"
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?de=17988Teamwork against Benzene (press release, 26 July 2012):
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=22138Drinking water in Gaza Strip contaminated with high levels of nitrate (press release, 14 August 2008):
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=17112Erfolgreicher Wissenstransfer (Successful transfer of knowledge) (press release 9 November 2005):
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?de=6345Signs of magmatic activity in Central Europe observed for the first time (press release, 22 September 2005):
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=6141At the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) scientists are researching the causes and consequences of far-reaching changes to the environment. They are concerned with water resources, biological diversity, the consequences of climate change and adaptability, environmental and biotechnologies, bioenergy, the behaviour of chemicals in the environment, their effect on health, modelling and social science issues. Their guiding theme: Our research contributes to the sustainable use of natural resources and helps to secure this basis for life over the long term under the effects of global change. The UFZ employs 1,000 people in Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg. It is financed by the federal government and the federal states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.
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