The Plasma Universe of Hannes Alfvén by David Talbott reviews and gives the story of Alfven the father of Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD, magneto-fluid dynamics, hydromagnetics) and plasma cosmology.
Talbott’s article in the EdgeScience magazine explains Alfvén’s importance to the theories that plasma rules the universe. It also mentions how Hannes realised his mistakes with Magnetohydrodynamics and on the grandest of all stages, his own Nobel Prize for Physics award ceremony cautioned against MHD.
But the critical turn in this story, the part almost never told within the community of astronomers and astrophysicists, is that Alfvén came to realize he had been mistaken. Ironically – and to his credit – Alfvén used the occasion of his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize to plead with scientists to ignore his earlier work. Magnetic fields, he said, are only part of the story. The electric currents that create magnetic fields must not be overlooked, and attempts to model space plasma in the absence of electric currents will set astronomy and astrophysics on a course toward crisis, he said.
The Plasma Universe of Hannes Alfvén | David Talbott
Collection of biographies of Hannes Alfvén.
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