International scientific workshop
August 17-22 , 2008

Fifths International "Cambridge" Workshop on Magnetic Reconnection 2008

Physics Center
Bad Honnef, Germany
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Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process in a magnetized plasma or fluid at high magnetic Reynolds number, whereby magnetic field lines are broken and reconnected in an electric current singularity that is resolved by magnetic diffusion. It has the effect of converting inflowing magnetic energy into bulk kinetic energy, heat and fast particle energy. Reconnection is responsible for many dynamic processes in the Sun, the Magnetosphere, the laboratory and many astrophysical bodies, but in this Programme we shall be focusing on the fundamentals of the process and on the first two fields. In the Sun, solar flares represent an explosive conversion of stored magnetic energy by reconnection into other forms. In addition, reconnection is likely to be heating the solar corona in many small current sheets to several million degrees by comparison with the solar surface temperature of only 6000 degrees. In the Magnetosphere, the solar wind sweeps back the Earth's magnetic field to form a tail. Occasionally, the field in the tail can reconnect in an explosive manner, producing a geomagnetic substorm. Reconnection can also occur sporadically over the front face of the magnetopause bounding the geomagnetic and interplanetary magnetic field to produce so-called 'flux-transfer events'. The basic theory of MHD reconnection in two dimensions is now well developed and the time is ripe for two new developments, which are the main aims of the Programme, namely, to develop the theory for the way the process can operate in three dimensions and to develop models for the various aspects of collisionless reconnection.

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