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Amitava Bhattacharjee
Space Science Center
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
University of New Hampshire

October 28, 2005
Foothills Laboratory 2, Room 1001
Lecture 1:30pm

Recent developments in Magnetic Reconnection Theory: Applications to space and laboratory plasmas

Recent developments in the theory of nonlinear collisionless reconnection hold the promise for providing solutions to some outstanding problems space and laboratory plasma physics. Examples of such problems are sawtooth oscillations in tokamaks, magnetotail substorms, and impulsive solar (or stellar) flares. In each of these phenomena, a long-standing issue has been the identification of fast reconnection rates that are insensitive to the magnitude of the plasma resistivity. Furthermore, these phenomena often exhibit a "trigger"---the magnetic field configuration evolves slowly for a long period of time, only to undergo a sudden dynamical change over a much shorter period of time.
In this talk, I will demonstrate that these phenomena can be viewed from a common theoretical perspective based on a Hall MHD reconnection model. Predictions of theory and simulation will be compared with observations. I will also report on some new developments in fully three-dimensional reconnection models of the magnetosphere and the solar corona.