Topic outline

  • General

    Plasma is the fourth and most common state of matter in our cosmos. Our direct contacts with plasma are still -- fortunately -- few and far apart. However, since e.g., modern tele communication is based on basic properties of plasmas, and fusion energy could help slow down the climate change, learning some basics of this peculiar state of matter is not only interesting but also useful.

    In this course the student will be introduced to plasma, a gas consisting of electrically charged particles, which makes its properties dramatically different from those of the more familiar states of matter: the free charges interact via Coulomb force that has, in principle, infinite range. This allows plasma to display a host of interesting collective phenomena, the most useful and intriguing of which  will be introduced in this course. The plasma will be treated predominantly with the magnetohydrodynamic description, the foundations of which will be outlined.

    After the course the students should have a basic understanding of plasma phenomenology, so that they can explain, e.g., how the radio waves propagate in the earth's atmosphere, and how a fusion plasma with a temperature of 100 million degrees can be controlled in laboratory conditions.