Plasma and the Emergence of the Cosmos

Plasma Cosmology: Its Key Concepts

What is most powerful and significant about plasma, is that it is in fact a fourth form of matter (solid + heat -> liquid + heat-> gas + heat + electricity -> plasma).  Plasma exhibits properties unseen in the other forms of matter.

Plasma is an emergent form of matter in that it spontaneously organizes itself into a cellular, nodular, electro-chemical substance.  Formed as Plasma Sheets or Double Layers.  This special cellular form of electro-magnetic matter is essential to the concept of Plasma.   It was first called plasma  by the physicist, Irving Langmuir, due to its resemblance to fluid plasma in the blood stream of vertebrates (including man).

Equally important as its emergent structure, is the incredible pervasiveness of plasma in the universe.  It is believed to constitute over 90% of the matter in the universe.  It exists as an electrical fluid filling virtual all of what was once believe to be empty space!  Thus plasma gives us a remarkable new perspective on the structure and nature of the universe as well as its natural laws.

For a concise overview and definitions of the key concepts and topics of Plasma Cosmology, including: The Solar Wind, Magnetospheres, Magnetotails, Birkeland currents, Current modes, Z-pinches, Doubleness, Electromagnetic force strength, Double Layers, ‘Frozen-in Magnetic Fields’, ‘Magnetic reconnection’, ‘Magnetars’, Power generation, Scaling Plasmas, Peratt Instabilities, Magnetohydrodynamics, see Plasma: Technical overview I.

Plasma Cosmology: Its Key Founders

Kristian Birkeland (1867-1917)

Plasma cosmology is a new approach to cosmology founded on the work of Kristian Birkeland, a Norwegian physicist.  Birkeland famously summarized what was to become known as ‘the electric universe concept’:

It seems to be a natural consequence of our point of view to assume that the whole of space is filled with electrons and flying ions of all kinds.

We assume each stellar system in evolution throws off electric corpuscles into space. It is not unreasonable therefore, to think that the greater part of the material masses in the universe is found not in the solar systems or nebulae, but in ‘empty’ space. –
Kristian Birkeland quote 1913

Today Birkeland remains highly regarded as a brilliant scientist and key founder of  cosmological electromagnetism.

He is probably Norway’s greatest ever scientist, and many of his works are still used as reference materials. The electric currents that flow from space are named after him — Birkeland currents. He is recognised for bringing Plasma and Electromagnetism into Cosmology, but while many of his ideas are widely accepted, his cosmological theories are less well known. He died aged 49 just when a working committee was in the process of nominating him for the Nobel Prize in Physics. – from Plasma Cosmology.Net

Irving Langmuir (1881-1957)

Irving Langmuir (1881-1957), an American physicist, was the first to call this new form of matter plasma, which was inspired by the idea of human blood plasma, a fluid manifesting cellular form, where its component elements were wrapped in electrical membranes, allowing them to remain separated and not neutralize one another. Langmuir was the first non-academic to be awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in 1932.

He discovered Plasma Sheathes, now called Double Layers, having observed the electrons and ions of a plasma separating during experimentation.  DLs are one of the most important features of plasma behaviour.

He also defined and explained the term ‘valence’ as part of his description of the atom. Few textbooks, however, recognise the influence that Langmuir had on the development of our understanding of the nature of the atom. – from Plasma Cosmology.Net

Hannes Alfven (1908-1995)

Plasma cosmology today is most strongly associated with the work of Hannes Alfven (1908-1995), a Swedish physicist and author of Cosmic Electrodynamics (Oxford University Press in 1950), won the Nobel Prize in physics (1970) for his work in plasma physics.   For those who are not familiar with Hannes Alfven and his work, here are his scientific credentials:

Alfven’s lifetime achievements earned him worldwide recognition- including the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1967), the Nobel Prize in physics (1970), the Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute (1971), and the Lomonosov Medal of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1971). Several academies and institutes claimed his name in their membership rosters: the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (life fellow), the European Physical Society, the Royal Swedish Academy, the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences. Alfven also was one of the very few scientists who are foreign members of both the U.S. and Soviet Academies of Sciences. – Hannes Alfven (1908-1995) a tribute by Anthony L. Peratt Physics Division Los Alamos National Laboratory, published online in the Cosmology section of  The Millennium Group

Alfven practiced science from the perspective of natural philosophy (just as did Aristotle, the father of Natural Philosophy and the world’s first biologist).  On the topic of Natural Philosophy, Alfven has said:

“We should remember that there was once a discipline called natural philosophy,” he said in 1986. “Unfortunately, this discipline seems not to exist today. It has been renamed science, but science of today is in danger of losing much of the natural philosophy aspect.” – Hannes Alfven (1908-1995), a tribute by Anthony L. Peratt

 Published on: September 11, 2016 @ 03:40

Latest Revision:  November 4, 2016 @ 5:41 am