May 9

Dr. Mike Brown presents about plasma physics!

Noted plasma physicist Dr. Mike Brown of Swarthmore College will speak on Friday, May 9th during 6a (3:30-4:30 pm) in Olin 141.

Friday, May 9th, 2014
3:30 – 4:30 pm / Olin 141

Is there a Universal Character to Plasma Turbulence?

Turbulent fluctuations in conventional fluids like air or water seem to have a universal statistical character. Measurements of statistical turbulence metrics in a wind tunnel or in a tidal basin seem to be the same. It is not known whether plasma turbulence is universal. The Sun launches a turbulent stream of high velocity plasma with imbedded magnetic fields into interplanetary space at about 400 km/s. Properties of this solar wind have been studied for decades and much is known about fluctuations in the velocity, density, and magnetic field. In this talk, I’ll discuss measurements in a high velocity plasma wind tunnel at Swarthmore College. The SSX MHD wind tunnel features flow speeds up to 100 km/s, magnetic field of 0.5 T, and temperatures of nearly a million Kelvin. Comparisons to measurements from the solar wind will be made.

Brown’s work in plasma physics has focused on fundamental astrophysical processes accessible in laboratory experiments (such as magnetic reconnection, plasma turbulence, and ion energization). Beginning the design stage in 1994, he established the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) with the assistance of 16 honors students and $2.5 million in grants from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and other government organizations.
Brown is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Plasma Sciences Committee, a past member of the executive committee of the APS’s Division of Plasma Physics, and a winner of the Department of Energy Junior Investigator Award.

Sponsored by Physics and Astronomy. Contact: Trenne Fields, x4383