An enduring astronomical mystery is how stars and galaxies acquire their magnetic fields. Physicists Jonathan Squire and Amitava Bhattacharjee at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found a clue to the answer in the collective behavior of small magnetic disturbances. In a paper published in October in Physical Review Letters, the scientists report that small magnetic perturbations can combine to form large-scale magnetic fields just like those found throughout the universe. This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science.
A field of physics that is growing in interest worldwide that tackles such astrophysical phenomena as the source of violent space weather and the formation of stars.
Pluto and its five known moons have been transformed from mysterious, barely resolved or unresolved points of light, only dimly viewed from very far away, to astonishing worlds of unimagined complexity by the recent visit of the small interplanetary probe called New Horizons. Pluto, with its icy plains, mountains, flowing glaciers, and hazy atmosphere, and Charon, only half as large but dramatically different, are revealed in amazing detail by the instruments on New Horizons.
Binary compact object mergers are among the primary gravitational wave sources expected to be observed by the next generation of ground-based gravitational wave detectors.
Since 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), I will begin by analyzing the very early experiments that established the properties of the CMB. What experimental problems did we face, and how did we overcome them? As CMB measurements grew more sensitive, new sources of systematic error and new foregrounds emerged. I'll describe the techniques CMB observers have evolved over the years to cope with them.
The study of the Sun, our nearest star, is making rapid progress, through a combination of a host of new space-based and ground-based observatories coming online and major advances in numerical simulations that incorporate increasingly complex physical mechanisms. I will provide an overview of some recent exciting discoveries that highlight the synergy between numerical modeling and observations with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Hinode spacecraft. Some of the topics I will discuss include: 1.
Masaaki Yamada, a Distinguished Laboratory Research Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has won the 2015 James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics. The award from the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Plasma Physics recognized Yamada for "fundamental experimental studies of magnetic reconnection relevant to space, astrophysical and fusion plasmas, and for pioneering contributions to the field of laboratory plasma astrophysics."
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