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Home > About us > Media > Archived news > 2013 > Publication of a new book on collisionless plasmas in astrophysics

Publication of a new book on collisionless plasmas in astrophysics

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Figure 1: The terrestrial magnetosphere is a natural laboratory for plasma physics. It allows to illsutrate many of the theoretical concepts presented in the book.

Filling a void in scientific literature, "Collisionless Plasmas in Astrophysics" explains the possibilities of modeling such plasmas, using a fluid or a kinetic framework. This book intends to be a basic textbook of plasma physics, and it, therefore, covers most classical topics of the domain, such as turbulence (weak/strong), magnetic reconnection, linear waves, instabilities, and nonlinear effects. Its main specificity is, however, to pay particular attention, in each domain, to the collisionless limit and the consequences of the different modelings, fluid or kinetic. Those who discover the domain should find the essential basic notions. Those who already know them should find the necessary perspective to approach some profound questions concerning the notion of collision (beginning by its very definition) and the collisionless limit (in particular the delicate use of the classical thermodynamical notions such as entropy in this case). The book should also help understanding the necessary compromises to be made for modeling plasmas in different circumstances, the global fluid modeling being often necessary to complete the kinetic one, the latter being easily handleable only at small scales and for simple (e.g. 1-D) geometries. Abundant illustrations are given in both space physics and astrophysics, examples of which are given here (figures 1, 2 and 3).

More details can be found on the editor’s website.

Gérard Belmont and Roland Grappin are scientists at LPP.

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Figure 2: A picture to help understanding the physics of the Landau effect (kinetic damping of waves) and to introduce in a logical way the corresponding calculations. If one considers a very large number of coupled oscillators with different eigenfrequencies, one is able to excite one pure monochromatic mode of the global set only if one is able to impose a very high number of initial conditions (very numerous and precise fingers). Otherwise, one always excite wave pakets, and damping follows.
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Figure 3: Turbulence above a cup of tea Sun’s light makes visible the turbulent vortices forced by the temperature gradient above the hot tea surface. The models allowing to describe the vortex dynamics can be used as well to describe turbulence in large scale plasmas such as found in the corona or the solar wind.


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Tutelles : CNRS Ecole Polytechnique Sorbonne Université Université Paris Sud Observatoire de Paris Convention : CEA
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