“Fast internet for everyone, that’s my goal”, says Despoina Petousi, an engineer from Greece. For her PhD, which she worked on at Technische Universität Berlin and at the Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik (IHP), Petousi combined optical technologies and silicon – an inexpensive material – to build components for fibre optic networks. This allowed her to achieve higher data transmission rates while reducing energy consumption at the same time. Believing that this will “add value to society in the future”, the Daimler and Benz Foundation awarded Petousi the 2018 Bertha Benz Prize for her research. The prize, which is endowed with 10,000 euros, was also awarded to the mechanical engineer Silvia Budday.
Motivating women in the engineering sciences and bringing their achievements to public attention is the Daimler and Benz Foundation’s objective in awarding its Bertha Benz Prize (partly in German). The Ladenburg-based foundation has been honouring female postdoctoral engineers since 2009.
Universities and research institutions who wish to propose female engineer candidates for this year’s Bertha Benz Prize can do so until 1 March 2020.