CWI researcher Ute Ebert has won the Minerva Prize 2004. This was announced by the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter FOM on February 25. Ebert's publication was chosen unanimously out of 28 submissions. The Minerva Prize is awarded every two year for the best scientific publication by a female writer on a physics topic.
Ebert, leader of the Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems theme MAS3, receives the award of 5000 euros for the paper Spontaneous Branching of Anode-Directed Streamers Between Planar Electrodes published in 2002 in the journal Physical Review Letters. Using accurate computer simulations and careful analysis of the observed phenomena, Ebert and her co-authors Manual Arrayás and Willem Hundsdorfer showed that the branching of sparks can be explained with a simple physical gas model.