by Pyotr FRIK, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), Head of Physical Hydrodynamics Laboratory, Institute of Continuum Mechanics, RAS Ural Branch (Perm)
When Academician of the Latvian Academy of Sciences Igor Kirko came to Perm in 1972, the spectrum of conducted studies was expanded by magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), a section of mechanics which studies flows of electroconducting liquids and their interaction with magnetic fields. Today the physical hydrodynamics laboratory of the Institute of Continuum Mechanics is perhaps the only scientific division in Russia which carries out theoretical and experimental work on practically all problems in this area of knowledge, from galactic magnetic fields, stellar and planetary magnetism to applied problems associated with formation and monitoring of liquid metal flows in production conditions.
BIRTH OF A NEW SCIENCE
As far as magnetohydrodynamics is concerned, nonexpert can imply a range of phenomena which have no direct relationship with man's life and the environment. But it is not the case. The natural magnetic fields not only exist in many cosmic objects-from planets and stars to pulsars and galaxies but also largely determine their evolution. And if magnetic fields of galaxies, quasars, accretion disks and neutron stars excite interest in a relatively small circle of astrophysical scientists and astronomy enthusiasts, the similar fields of the Sun and the Earth have a direct effect on human life. The Solar magnetic field which is largely responsible for flashes causing bombardment of our planet by particle flows, complies with the eleven-year cycle of activity changing its direction to the opposite one every time upon its
completion. But the Earth's magnetic field which protects it from dangerous cosmic particles seems to be constant and unchanged. In reality it is not so, and its manifestations bear a lot of mystery. According to specialists during a whole period of history of our planet' ... Читать далее