Amitava Bhattacharjee (Princeton University) — June 12, 2018
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.
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.