Fast Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas

Amitava Bhattacharjee (Princeton University) — June 12, 2018

Abstract :
Magnetic reconnection is the process by which the enormous energy stored in magnetic fields can be released as the kinetic energy of charged particles. A principal challenge is to explain why reconnection in natural or laboratory plasmas can proceed rapidly from a relatively quiescent state. Recent work has demonstrated that there are fundamental shortcomings in classical magnetic reconnection theory. We will discuss these shortcomings, and present the results of a new theory. We will test the new theory with computer simulations and observations, and discuss open questions that remain.

Biography :
Amitava Bhattacharjee is Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and Head of the Theory Department at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. He also serves as Co-Director of the Princeton Center for Heliophysics.
His primary research interests are magnetic reconnection and turbulence theory, with applications to space, astrophysical, and laboratory (including fusion) plasmas.

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