Conversations on Electric And Magnetic Fields in the Cosmos

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-01-29
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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Today's standard textbooks treat the theoretical structure of electric and magnetic fields, but their emphasis is on electromagnetic radiation and static-electric and magnetic fields. In this book, Eugene Parker provides advanced graduate students and researchers with a much-needed complement to existing texts, one that discusses the dynamic electromagnetism of the cosmos--that is, the vast magnetic fields that are carried bodily in the swirling ionized gases of stars and galaxies and throughout intergalactic space. Parker is arguably the world's leading authority on solar wind and the effects of magnetic fields in the heliosphere, and his originality of thought and distinctive approach to physics are very much in evidence here. Seeking to enrich discussions in standard texts and correct misconceptions about the dynamics of these large-scale fields, Parker engages readers in a series of "conversations" that are at times anecdotal and even entertaining without ever sacrificing theoretical rigor. The dynamics he describes represents the Maxwell stresses of the magnetic field working against the pressure and inertia of the bulk motion of ionized gases, characterized in terms of the magnetic field and gas velocity. Parker shows how this dynamic interaction cannot be fully expressed in terms of the electric current and electric field. Conversations on Electric and Magnetic Fields in the Cosmosgoes back to basics to explain why classical hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics are inescapable, even in the deepest reaches of space.

Author Biography

Eugene N. Parker is S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Chicago

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
General Remarksp. 1
Electromagnetic Field Equationsp. 3
Electrical Neutralityp. 7
Electric Charge and Magnetic Field Dominancep. 12
Electric Fieldsp. 15
Basic Considerationsp. 15
Definition of Charge and Fieldp. 16
Concept of Electric Fieldp. 17
Physical Reality of Electric Fieldp. 20
Electric Field Pressurep. 22
Magnetic Fieldsp. 25
Basic Considerationsp. 25
Experimental Connectionp. 26
Differential Form of Ampere's Lawp. 27
Energy and Stressp. 29
Detecting a Magnetic Fieldp. 32
Field Linesp. 37
Basic Considerationsp. 37
The Optical Analogyp. 39
Maxwell's Equationsp. 43
Maxwell and Poyntingp. 48
Poynting's Momentum and Energy Theoremsp. 48
Applicationsp. 52
Electric and Magnetic Fields in Matterp. 52
SI Unitsp. 55
Systems of Unitsp. 59
Chaucer Unitsp. 63
Moving Reference Framesp. 65
Lorentz Transformationsp. 65
Electric Fields in the Laboratoryp. 66
Occam's Razor and the Tree in the Forestp. 67
Electric Field in a Moving Plasmap. 68
Net Charge in a Swirling Plasmap. 71
Hydrodynamicsp. 74
Basic Considerationsp. 74
Derivation of the HD Equationsp. 76
The Pressure Tensorp. 79
Pressure Variation in Uniform Dilatationsp. 82
Shear Flowp. 85
Effects of Collisionsp. 86
Off-diagonal Terms and Viscosityp. 89
Summaryp. 91
Magnetohydrodynamicsp. 92
Basic Considerationsp. 92
Diffusion and Dissipationp. 96
Application of Magnetic Diffusionp. 98
Discussionp. 101
Partially Ionized Gasesp. 102
An Electric Current to Satisfy Amperep. 108
Particle Motion Along Bp. 114
Time-varying Magnetic Fieldp. 119
Commentsp. 121
Singular Properties of the Maxwell Stress Tensorp. 123
Magnetic Equilibriump. 123
Calculation of the Equilibrium Fieldp. 128
Equilibrium in Stretched Fieldp. 129
Resolving the Contradictionp. 132
Formation of TDsp. 133
Rapid Reconnection at an Incipient TDp. 137
Quasi-steady Dissipation at a TDp. 142
Commentsp. 147
Summaryp. 147
Electric Circuit Analogyp. 148
A Simple Example of an Electric Circuitp. 149
Popular Electric and Magnetic Fieldsp. 154
Electrostatically Driven Expansion of the Universep. 157
Relaxation of Electric Charge Inhomogeneityp. 159
Imposition of a Large-scale Electric Fieldp. 162
Electric Charge Density in an Electric Fieldp. 165
The Transverse Invariant wn2Bp. 167
Blocking the Flow of Electric Currentp. 169
Referencesp. 173
Indexp. 179
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