Physics & Astronomy Colloquium
Professor Petros Tzeferacos; Flash Center for Computational Science; Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics; The University of Chicago
“Fundamental processes in plasma astrophysics: Concerted simulations and laser-driven laboratory experiments shed new light on the workings of the Cosmos”
Abstract: I present the exciting fundamental science in magnetized astrophysical plasmas that the University of Chicago – University of Oxford team is accomplishing through concerted application of the FLASH code and laboratory plasma astrophysics experiments. In particular, I discuss recent breakthroughs experiments in the study of turbulent dynamo, a ubiquitous astrophysical process thought to be responsible for the present-day magnetization of numerous celestial objects but that had eluded laboratory plasma physicists for decades. These experiments have enabled us to explore dynamo in various regimes that are important in astrophysics, providing us with a new tool to validate or falsify our theoretical understanding. I will also describe how these experiments are enabling the first laboratory investigations of cosmic ray (CR) acceleration mechanisms and the diffusive transport of extragalactic and ultra-high energy CRs – a key step towards identifying their sources and explaining the dipole anisotropy recently detected by the Pierre Auger Observatory.