National Academies Press: OpenBook

Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications (1995)

Chapter:Magnetized Disks, Winds, and Jets

Suggested Citation:"Magnetized Disks, Winds, and Jets." National Research Council. 1995. Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4936.

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PLASMA ASTROPHYSICS 120 7 Plasma Astrophysics Plasma physics is relevant to almost every area of astrophysics, from magnetized, highly conducting stellar and interstellar plasma to gravitationally interacting many-body systems such as star clusters and galaxies. In some cases, the plasma physics is quite standard and requires only the application of known results. In other cases, the problem lies beyond the current frontiers of knowledge. Yet, plasma physics is not part of the standard graduate astrophysics curriculum, and plasma astrophysics has no distinct home at any federal funding agency. This chapter briefly describes some recent accomplishments and outstanding problems in plasma astrophysics, as well as education in and funding of plasma astrophysics. RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN PLASMA ASTROPHYSICS Any list of recent accomplishments is bound to be incomplete, but the work discussed below is representative. Magnetized Disks, Winds, and Jets Astrophysical interest in this problem goes back at least as far as the 1950s, when Fred Hoyle speculated that the early Sun could have transferred angular momentum to the protoplanetary disk via magnetic torques. The first quantitative theories began with the solar wind, which is observed to be magnetized. Simple models were developed to show that magnetic torques exerted by the solar wind could have removed significant quantities of angular momentum from

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Plasma science is the study of ionized states of matter. This book discusses the field's potential contributions to society and recommends actions that would optimize those contributions. It includes an assessment of the field's scientific and technological status as well as a discussion of broad themes such as fundamental plasma experiments, theoretical and computational plasma research, and plasma science education.

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