IPP's ball lightning as a prize-winning photographic motif

acatech award "Punkt 2008" for technical journalism

October 23, 2008

A ball lightning experiment photographed in IPP scientist Gerd Fussmann’s laboratory in Berlin has now been awarded the “Punkt 2008” prize for technical journalism. Berlin photographer Norbert Michalke received for this shot the prize awarded by the German Academy of Technical Sciences (acatech) in the single-photo section. The jury praised his humorous, droll and delightful portrayal of two scientists in the laboratory and the technically sophisticated theme, so convincingly handcrafted.

Professor Gerd Fussmann and Dr. Burhardt Jüttner from the joint Berlin research group of IPP and Humboldt University have for some years been investigating these puzzling luminous phenomena and producing ball lightning – to be more precise, ball-lightning-like plasma clouds – in the laboratory. As the prize-winning photo shows, high-voltage discharges are applied to make luminous plasma balls rise above a water surface.

As the name PUNKT (point) says, this prize endowed with 5,000 euros in awarded for textual and photographic contributions that literally come to the point with technical themes. Winner in the photo category alongside Nobert Michalke (single-photo section) was Walter Fogel (photo series section); also honoured, in the text category, were Georg Küffner (newspaper section) and Tanja Krämer (magazine section).

The jury for the photo category comprised Christa Schraivogel (Fraunhofer Society), Heiner Müller-Elsner, Hubertus Hamm, Jörg Buschmann (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Judith Engelhof (Publicis), Ludwig Wendt (Ludwig Wendt Art Direction) and, as advisory member, acatech President Prof. Dr.-Ing. Joachim Milberg.

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