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The Discovery of Magnetohydrodynamic waves
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.
2007 (English)In: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, ISSN 1364-6826, Vol. 69, no 14, 1604-1608 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The discovery of magnetohydrodynamic waves was a major breakthrough in plasma physics and its applicationsto space physics and fusion research. The waves were discovered by Hannes Alfve´n and are therefore also calledAlfve´n Waves. The discovery was typical of Alfve´n’s outstanding ability to derive results of great generality fromanalysis of specific problems—in this case, the sunspots and the sunspot cycle. It was also typical of his electrodynamicapproach to astrophysical problems. It took a long time before his discovery was generally accepted,partly because of the contemporary lack of means to verify the waves experimentally. The experimental verificationof the magnetohydrodynamic waves came gradually many years later, beginning with experiments in liquid metals. It wasnot until the end of the 1950s that experiments were performed in plasmas. These clearly and conclusively demonstratedthe existence and properties of magnetohydrodynamic waves, in excellent agreement with the theoretical prediction ofAlfve´n. The discovery of the magnetohydrodynamic waves opened a whole new field of physics—magnetohydrodynamics,which is of profound importance especially, but not only, in plasma physics. At the same time as themagnetohydrodynamic waves, Hannes Alfve´n also discovered another magnetohydrodynamic concept, the frozen-inmagnetic field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2007. Vol. 69, no 14, 1604-1608 p.
Keyword [en]
Alfven waves, magnetohydrodynamic waves, history of geophysics
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-77634DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2006.08.021ISI: 000250638100003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-34548807493OAI: diva2:491893
QC 20120208Available from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-02-07 Last updated: 2012-03-13Bibliographically approved

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