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Welcome to the Magnetohydrodynamics Research Group

The Magnetohydrodynamics/Solar Physics group in the Division of Mathematics was established in 2005 and is expanding as a priority research area for the University. We are a lively group of applied mathematicians carrying out fundamental research into the structure and dynamics of magnetic fields. Our methods combine numerical simulations (HPC) with mathematical analysis based on dynamical systems theory, braid theory and differential geometry. Our main areas of application are astrophysical plasmas, particularly solar plasmas. Many of our results can also be applied to laboratory plasmas and other fluid dynamical systems, such as superfluids.

solar loop model The image on the left shows as an example of our research a model of a braided magnetic field in a solar coronal loop. The foot points of the magnetic field lines in such loops are anchored in the surface (photosphere) of the Sun and are braided by the turbulent motion of the photospheric plasma. The way in which the field lines wind around each other is crucial for understanding how the loop evolves, how it exchanges energy with its environment, and its stability. One of our projects is to develop mathematical tools which allow us to quantify the entaglement of the field lines, an important diagnostic which is of interest also for the analysis of other fields, such e.g. vortex fields in superfluids.


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