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Multiscale Dynamics group news

CWI group leader Ute Ebert on Focus TV

Ute Ebert, group leader of CWI’s Multiscale Dynamics group, appeared on national TV in the NTR science television programme Focus, where she explained which physical phenomena cause the beginning of lightning.

Machine Learning Techniques for Space Weather book published

Recently, the book 'Machine Learning Techniques for Space Weather', edited by CWI researcher Enrico Camporeale and others, was published by Elsevier. The book provides “a thorough and accessible presentation of machine learning techniques that can be employed by space weather professionals”.

Technology grant awarded to optimize plasma-assisted combustion

Incomplete combustion in engines and central heating systems can generate toxic exhaust gases. An electric discharge or plasma can preprocess the mixture of air and fuel, which could largely improve the combustion process. Researchers from CWI and TU/e were awarded a technology grant from NWO to understand and improve this.

Efficient models for high voltage switching

In the search for better environmentally friendly high-voltage switches, it is important to understand electrical breakdowns in various media. PhD student Ashutosh Agnihotri (CWI) developed efficient computational models to simulate these phenomena in different gas mixtures. He defends his PhD thesis at Eindhoven University of Technology on 25 June.

AIDA: Exploring space with Artificial Intelligence

The EU H2020 project 'AIDA' on using artificial intelligence in space physics was signed in May. The Multiscale Dynamics Group at CWI is one of the eight research partners involved. The ultimate goal is to create an intelligent system that enables new scientific discoveries in space.

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.

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.

Radio telescope LOFAR shows how lightning grows

Dutch radio telescope LOFAR can observe the creation of lightning flashes at an unprecedented one-metre resolution, which may lead to better lightning protection. The results were published by an international scientific team with RUG, ASTRON, CWI, RU and VUB on 16 February 2018 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

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.

Lightning produces afterglow of gamma radiation

Ionizing radiation due to lightning shines for much longer than presumed before: up to 10,000 times longer. This was demonstrated for the first time by computer simulations of CWI researchers. Their work was published on 22 October in Geophysical Review Letters.

Vidi grant for Enrico Camporeale’s space weather research

CWI researcher Enrico Camporeale received a Vidi grant from NWO for his proposal 'Real-time forecasting of killer electrons on satellite orbits' in May 2017. He received the 800,000 euro grant to develop his own innovative line of research and to set up his own research group within five years. Camporeale will develop a technology to forecast space weather events that could harm satellites, power networks and communication systems. This forecast would allow to take countermeasures.

Cum laude for 3D modelling of pulsed discharges in air

PhD student Jannis Teunissen from Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has made major progress in modelling the early stages of electric discharges as they occur in lightning, high voltage electricity nets and plasma technology. He received a 'cum laude' predicate for his thesis '3D Simulations and Analysis of Pulsed Discharges', which he defended on 12 November 2015 at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer – how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding will be published in Physical Review Letters on April 24nd.

Creation of antimatter from lightning simulated for the first time

In severe thunderstorms electric fields can become so high, that high energy radiation – such as X-rays and gamma rays - can be generated. Even antimatter can be formed. The highly complex interactions between high electric fields and particles in thunderstorms were not well modelled yet. Christoph Köhn, PhD student from research centre Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam, modelled and simulated these processes in a new way.

Large STW grant for CWI research on discharges

In November, Ute Ebert (CWI) received a large STW grant for three research projects on discharges. These projects are about X-rays and gamma radiation from lightning, air purification with discharges for highway tunnels and hospitals, and environmentally friendly high voltage switches for power plants.

Ute Ebert in TV programme Galileo

On Tuesday 27 May 2008 TV programme Galileo airs a documentary on the effect of lightning on climate changes. Featuring CWI researcher Ute Ebert and her colleagues from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Galileo, 22:50 hrs, Nederland 2. Rerun Saturday 31 May, 9:22 hrs.

Ute Ebert member of Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities

Ute Ebert has been invited to become a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen) in Haarlem, the oldest academic society in the Netherlands. Established in 1752, the society aims at promoting science by awarding prizes and stipendia. Nowadays, it aspires to bridge the gap between science and society.