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This Week at Physics

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Events on Monday, May 7th, 2012

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Magnetic Reconnection in Plasmas; a Celestial Phenomenon in the Laboratory
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 2535 Engineering Hall
Speaker: Prof. Jan Egedal, MIT
Abstract: Coronal mass ejections from the sun are the most explosive events that occur
in our solar system. Closer to home, the aurora borealis is one of the most
spectacular, naturally occurring, light show at high latitudes on the Earth. Both
of these large scale events are driven by magnetic reconnection in plasmas.
The spontaneous rearrangement of magnetic field topology provides the
enormous energy needed for these celestially magnificent and diverse
phenomena.
For more than fifty years, magnetic reconnection has been a fascinating topic of
research in plasma physics. While we do not fully understand the process of
reconnection, significant progress has been made in the past decade through
detailed analysis of laboratory experiments, and computer simulations. The
Versatile Toroidal Facility at MIT is one such experiment dedicated to the study
of magnetic reconnection. In this talk I will describe the recent experimental
observations which have led to a new theoretical paradigm for magnetic
reconnection. Large scale computer simulations support the theoretical and
experimental results. The analysis of experimental observations in a laboratory
device has led to a comprehensive understanding of data from spacecraft
observing celestial reconnection events in the EarthaEuroTMs magnetosphere.
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Condensed Matter Theory Group Seminar
The finite temperature phase diagram for Kitaev-Heisenberg model
Time: 4:30 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin
Speaker: Craig Price, UW-Madison
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