Leader of the group Multiscale Dynamics: Ute Ebert.

Nature and technology are full of dynamics, often involving multiple scales in length, time and energy. To model these processes, we combine scientific computing with model reduction and machine learning, with particular focus on plasma dynamics in lightning and space weather, and in high voltage and plasma technology.

Our research addresses questions in nature such as start and propagation of lightning strokes, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and space weather, and closely related technological problems such as switch gear for long-distance electricity nets, air purification and disinfection with corona reactors, and protection of satellites and electricity nets from space weather.


Within national and European projects, we collaborate with colleagues in applied plasma physics, electrical and mechanical engineering, atmospheric electricity, and cosmic particle and space science, and with non-academic partners such as ABB, DNV-GL, ESA-ESTEC and NASA.

Find more about our work on the personal homepages of the staff scientists (including publications):

and on the page with our numerical codes for Multiscale Plasma Dynamics.

View a photo of the Multiscale Dynamics group.


Postdoc on the subject of Machine Learning and Space Weather

The position involves research in machine learning techniques and Bayesian inference, applied to real-time forecasting of energetic electrons in the Earth radiation belts. These electrons can be harmful to satellites, whose disruption can potentially lead to catastrophic societal and economic events. The emerging field of Space Weather is concerned with making accurate predictions of such dangerous events, sufficiently in advance so that countermeasures can be taken. The aim of this project is to advance our space weather prediction capability by enhancing physics based models with a new data-driven probabilistic framework. The project will involve state-of-the-art numerical simulations, Bayesian parameters estimation, uncertainty quantification and machine learning techniques.


CWI researchers simulate how ‘coherent structures’ affect solar wind heating

CWI researchers simulate how ‘coherent structures’ affect solar wind heating

CWI researchers have further developed our understanding of how solar wind particles get accelerated and heated. In particular, they discovered how ‘coherent structures’ in the solar wind, places where the magnetic fields and electrical currents are enhanced, affect the energy transfer responsible for heating. The results were published in Physical Review Letters on 19 March 2018.

CWI researchers simulate how ‘coherent structures’ affect solar wind heating - Read More…

Better simulations for lightning and high-voltage technology

Better simulations for lightning and high-voltage technology

Until recently, it was not clear how lightning could start. CWI PhD student Casper Rutjes modelled and simulated the origin of lightning and ionizing radiation from storm clouds and explained the physics of these phenomena. On 15 March he defended his PhD thesis. His results are important for lightning research, high-voltage technology and nuclear medicine models.

Better simulations for lightning and high-voltage technology - Read More…

In Memoriam Willem Hundsdorfer

In Memoriam Willem Hundsdorfer

With sadness, we let you know that our colleague Prof. Willem Hundsdorfer passed away on Friday 10 November, at the age of 63. Since 1984 Willem had been affiliated with CWI; first in the Numerical Mathematics department, where he built up an international reputation. Since 2002, he had been part of the Multiscale Dynamics research group, where he shared his expertise for developing simulations of electric discharges that by now are widely recognized.

In Memoriam Willem Hundsdorfer - Read More…


Associated Members



Current projects with external funding

  • Cosmic Lightning
  • Modeling DC Circuit-Breakers for Long-Distance Electricity Transmission
  • Real-time forecasting of killer electrons on satellite orbits
  • Let CO2 spark! Understand breakdown dynamics for high voltage technology and lightning Abstract Sparks, (Let CO2 spark!)
  • Science and Innovation with Thunderstorms (SAINT)

Related partners

  • CSIC
  • FOM
  • IT-DTU Lyngby
  • Shell, Amsterdam
  • Universiteit Groningen - Kernfysisch Versneller Instituut
  • Universitetet i Bergen
  • University of Bath
  • Bristol Industrial and Research Associates Limited
  • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
  • Universidad Politecnica Catalunya
  • Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse III)