Colloquium - How does the solar wind drive magnetospheric convection?

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Venue:CP 220

As the solar wind flows past the Earth's magnetic field, momentum and energy are transferred to the geospace system, causing the motion of plasma in the ionosphere and magnetosphere, along with the generation of electric fields and currents. In this talk I will explore the two major mechanisms for the transfer of energy - magnetic merging and the viscous interaction. I will show how these interactions lead to a voltage drop across the ionosphere from dawn to dusk, explain why this voltage drop is less than the voltage drop across the magnetosphere in the solar wind, and also explain how this leads to the phenomenon of saturation of the cross polar cap potential.

Professor Ramon Lopez is a truly outstanding scientist and educator. Professor Lopez is an internationally-renowned scholar; both in Space Physics as well as in the area of Science Education. Dr. Lopez is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and was awarded the 2002 Nicholson Medal for Humanitarian Service. He also received the 2011 Bouchet Award. He is the author of more than 97 publications in refereed journals, 131 invited research presentations, and a popular book on Space Physics entitled: Storms from the Sun, (Joseph Henry Press, 2002).

(This seminar will be given at the undergraduate level. As long as someone has had Physics 2, they can understand it, but it is really a physics seminar.)

The Department of Physics holds a joint Colloquia Series with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The colloquia cover a broad range of topics and are targeted at a general audience. All are welcome to attend.

This Colloquium is held in CP 220 and will begin promptly at 2:00 PM.