Astrophysicist and winner, with Louis Neel of France, of the Nobel
Prize for Physics in 1970 for his essential contributions in founding
plasma physics--the study of plasmas (ionized gases).
In 1939 Alfven published his theory of magnetic storms and auroral displays in the atmosphere, which immensely influenced the modern theory of the magnetosphere (the region of the Earth's magnetic field). He discovered a widely used mathematical approximation by which the complex spiral motion of a charged particle in a magnetic field can be easily calculated. Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), the study of plasmas in magnetic fields, was largely pioneered by Alfven, and his work has been acknowledged as fundamental to attempts to control nuclear fusion.
After numerous disagreements with the Swedish government, Alfven obtained a position (1967) with the University of California, San Diego. Later he divided his teaching time between the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the University of California.
Alfven was an early supporter of "plasma cosmology," a concept
that challenges the big-bang model of the origin of the universe. Those
who support the theory of plasma cosmology hold that the universe had
no beginning (and has no forseeable end) and that plasma--with its electric
and magnetic forces--has done more to organize matter in the universe
into star systems and other large observed structures than has the force
of gravity. Much of Alfven's early research was included in his Cosmical
Electrodynamics (1950). He also wrote On the Origin of the Solar System
(1954), Worlds-Antiworlds (1966), and Cosmic Plasma (1981).
Main Page | About Us | All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. Timeline of Nobel Prize Winners is not affiliated with The Nobel Foundation. A Special Thanks to the 3w-hosting.com for helping make this site a success. External sites are not endorsed or supported by http://www.nobel-winners.com/ Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved.