CNRS Research Director
MHD in Astro- and Geophysics (ENS / IPGP)
Research interests:Natural Dynamos
I am interested in the understanding of natural dynamos. The Earth core (approximatively 3000 km below our feet) consists largely of liquid iron in convection. This convective flow is strongly influenced by the rapid rotation of the Earth. The magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) flow in the core is thought to sustain a self excited dynamo, which generates the main part of the Earth magnetic field. Although the geodynamo theory was first proposed in 1919, the precise mechanism of the field generation remains unknown. The same mechanism, although under different conditions, is expected to account for the magnetic field of stars (like the Sun) or even galaxies (like the Milkyway).
The study of the above problem, as well as others in fluid dynamics, can benefit from efficient numerical simulations. Such simulations are only useful when they can be interpreted physically. This is often achieved through detailed comparisons with theoretical or experimental work. This requires high resolution simulations, varying parameters significantly. I am interested in the development of efficient numerical methods to allow such comparisons.