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Events on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Wednesday Nite @ The Lab
Fusion Energy, Solar Flares and Black Holes in the Wisconsin Plasma Physics Lab
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Place: 1111 Biotech or UWBC webcam:
Speaker: Cary Forest, UW–Madison Physics
Abstract: Plasma Physics is the overarching discipline describing plasma, the hot and energetic state of matter that makes up 99% of the visible universe. In my talk I will introduce you the exciting world of experimental plasma physics in which we build devices, here on Earth that replicate and mimic what we see in the Universe: from fusion energy powered stars; planetary and stellar magnetic fields spontaneously created by flows of plasma and liquid metals; spontaneous explosive bursts of plasma in solar flares that hammer our planet, satellites, and astronauts; and accretion of plasma onto supermassive black holes that gives rise to the galaxy sized radio jets that accelerate cosmic rays in the Universe. Each of these systems is built up from plasmas and have processes that can be studied terrestrially, which is what we do in the Wisconsin Plasma Lab. Experiments consist of big rooms, heavy equipment like large vacuum chambers, intense amounts of electric energy in the form of magnetic fields, high voltage power, and microwave heating, and specialized diagnostics to measure properties of plasma at temperatures greater than 100000 degrees. I will tell two stories in my talk. The first will describe a recent experiment we carried out to investigate how plasma might break away from the magnetosphere of our Sun and give rise to the Solar Wind that fills our solar system. This experiment complements a recently launched NASA mission called Parker Solar Probe that is a satellite that is now probing close to the sun. The second will be about revisiting an old idea called the magnetic mirror with new technology for making fusion in a simpler and more useful way than currently envision in reactors along the path that Iter is going. We are now building a new experiment called the Wisconsin High-Temperature-Superconductor Axisymmetric Mirror (WHAM) at the Physical Sciences Lab to test our ideas.

Host: WN@TL
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