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Colloquium: Particle acceleration and magnetic field generation in astrophysical plasmas

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Anatoly Spitkovsky, Princeton University
When
10 December 2015 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where
117 Osmond Laboratory
Contact Name
Eugenio Bianchi
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Shocks in low density plasmas (so-called "collisionless shocks") are ubiquitous throughout the Universe, and are thought to be responsible for the generation of nonthermal particles that extend over decades in energy. I will describe the progress in modeling collisionless shock structure and particle acceleration using ab-initio kinetic simulations, focusing on the current understanding of magnetic field amplification mechanisms, the conditions necessary for particle injection into the acceleration process, and the physics behind the electron-to-ion ratio in shock acceleration. I will also describe a new scenario for generation of the first magnetic fields during structure formation that can be important for seeding magnetic fields in galaxies.

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