GARDEN OF PHYSICS: The mechanism of lightning discharge

The mechanism of lightning discharge
Guest: dr Saša Dujko

‘One of the most obvious manifestations of non-equilibrium plasmas in nature is lightning’, says Dr Saša Dujko of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade in the twelfth volume of the popular science video series ‘The Garden of Physics’, adding that lightning can be understood as a generator in a global electrical field.

Although lightning is a natural phenomenon which attracts great attention, all mechanisms of its formation have not been discovered yet. At the Centre for Non-equilibrium Processes and Plasma Applications, we deal with modelling, diagnostics and applications of non-equilibrium plasmas. It occurs in electrical gaseous discharge and has numerous applications’, explains Dr Dujko in the episode dedicated to lightning.

Lightning is not a phenomenon unique to Earth. It occurs in the atmosphere of Jupiter, Saturn, and there is evidence it occurs in the atmosphere of Neptune and Uranus.

’The situation with Mars and Venus is a bit more complicated’, says Dr Dujko, explaining that previous missions did not detect lightning in the atmosphere of Mars, however, sand storms indicate that it probably occurs in the neighbouring planet. ’The most controversial situation is with Venus where we have evidence in favour and against the occurrence of lightning,’ states Dr Dujko.

Realized in cooperation with the portal ’Science Through Stories’, each episode of ’The Garden of Physics’ is dedicated to one of the fundamental topics of modern science, whether it is the greatest secrets of our times or research indicating unexpected horizons in the perception of the world. New episodes are aired every Friday online and they are available on webpages of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade and the portal „Science Through Stories“, as well as on You are welcome to join us.

Authors: Marija Đurić and Slobodan Bubnjević
Scenario: ’Science Through Stories’
Camera/drone: Zoran Veljanoski, Bojan Živojinović (Twotech Solutions)
Production associate: Jovana Nikolić
Directing and editing: Bojan Živojinović

Produced by: Insitute of Physics, Belgrade, 2020