Most of these plasmas, including the solar wind that constantly flows out from the sun and sweeps through the solar system, exist in a turbulent state. MIT's Loureiro and Boldyrev have proposed a new model to explain these dynamic turbulent processes.
In his third year at MIT, Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) graduate student Alex Creely has figured out enough about the hot, turbulent plasmas necessary for creating fusion energy that his research has been honored with an Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Award, offered by the Office of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Technology R&D of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Loureiro marvels at how pervasive magnetic fields are, evident not only in planets and the interplanetary medium, but beyond the heliosphere to the interstellar, galactic, intergalactic and intercluster media. But how were these fields generated, and how did they come to have the structure and magnitude they have today?
What drew Loureiro to plasma physics, he says, was energy. “If one is not naïve about today’s world and today’s society, one has to understand that there is an energy problem. And if you’re a physicist, you have the tools to try and do something about it.”
A multi-institutional team consisting of Plasma Science and Fusion Center research scientist Nathan Howard, Chris Holland (University of California, San Diego) and Jeff Candy (General Atomics), has received a prestigious INCITE leadership computing award.