Magnetic Reconnection

Professor Barrett Rogers's research in theoretical and computational plasma physics addresses problems in magnetic reconnection. Space and laboratory plasmas such as the sun, the magnetosphere, and laboratory fusion experiments often store large quantities of energy in embedded magnetic fields. Magnetic reconnection is a ubiquitous process that can convert some fraction of this energy, often explosively, into high speed flows and thermal energy. Reconnection is the fundamental process underlying cataclysmic phenomena such as coronal mass ejections, magnetospheric substorms, and "sawtooth-crash'' reconnection in tokamak fusion reactors. The rapidity of such events is often so extreme that it has been an ongoing challenge to explain theoretically. Reconnection also generates intense electric fields that can accelerate particles to very high energies.