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Graduate Student Seminar - 02/13/2009

"Inertial Mode Selection in a Laboratory Planetary Core"

by Dr. Douglas H. Kelley

Friday, February 13, 2009 -- 12:00 p.m.
Large Conference Room, 1207 Energy Research Facility

Advisor:  Professor Daniel Lathrop

Magnetic fields arise in stars and planetary cores via the dynamo effect; the swirling motions of their conductive fluids make magnetic fields where there were none before. Astrophysical magnetic fields are important in a great many physical processes, from navigation on Earth and protection from cosmic rays, to the solar wind and coronal mass ejections, to collapse of accretion discs. Rotation plays a key role in the dynamo effect, and so we study the magnetic behaviors of rotating, conductive fluids using a 60 cm laboratory device. I'll give an overview of recent results, emphasizing the importance of a particular class of waves (inertial waves) and promising a mechanism to explain both their excitation and mode selection. I'll also offer a few thoughts on the nature of rotating turbulence, as suggested by our experimental results.

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