Magnetic reconnection is a phenomenon of nature in which magnetic field lines change their topology in plasma and convert magnetic energy to particles by acceleration and heating. It is one of the most fundamental processes at work in laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. Magnetic reconnection occurs everywhere: in solar flares; coronal mass ejections; the earth’s magnetosphere; in the star forming galaxies; and in plasma fusion devices.
Magnetic reconnection (henceforth called "reconnection") refers to the breaking and reconnecting of oppositely directed magnetic field lines in a plasma. In the process, magnetic field energy is converted to plasma kinetic and thermal energy.
Three teams led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have won major blocks of time on two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Two of the projects seek to advance the development of nuclear fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy by improving understanding of the superhot, electrically charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions.
Masaaki Yamada is a Distinguished Laboratory Research Fellow and the Head of the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) research program. He is also a co- principal investigator of the Center for Magnetic Self-Organization in Laboratory and Astrophysical Plasmas, a Physics Frontier Center established by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
More than 70 researchers from around the world gathered at Princeton University May 23-25 for the 2012 U.S.-Japan Workshop on Magnetic Reconnection. PPPL physicist Hantao Ji chaired the international workshop, which was the twelfth since 1998 and the third to be held at Princeton. The event featured more than 55 papers, including two presented by Ji and Masaaki Yamada, who directs PPPL’s Magnetic Reconnection Experiment.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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