Plasma Physics Seminar ( Phys 769)

Dr. Marc Swisdak, IREAP, University of Maryland

Magnetic Reconnection: Basic Theory and Modern Experiments

Magnetic reconnection is believed to be the trigger for explosive events varying in scale from tokamak sawtooth disruptions to magnetospheric substorms to accretion disk flares. Recent years have seen the development of a general consensus that resistive MHD does not contain sufficient physics to explain the observations of reconnection in real systems. Instead small length scales, as seen in, for instance, Hall MHD, appear to be necessary.

I will discuss the basic theory of magnetic reconnection, including the development of the above ideas. I will then describe why large-scale computer simulations, up to and including kinetic PIC codes, are necessary for further exploration. Among the current problems I plan to discuss are the role of turbulence and the energization of the electron population.