Science Seminars

5/12/2016 – Sarah Gibson; Sun-Earth Connections: Magnetism across Time and Space

Speaker: Sarah Gibson (UCAR)
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: SPSC W120

Seminar Abstract:

Magnetic fields can seem like magic.  Indeed, the earliest uses of naturally-magnetic lodestones were for fortune telling, and to this day magnetism is a popular source of power for comic-book superheroes and supervillains alike.  The reality of magnetism is, if anything, more compelling.  It can affect the dynamics of stars and galaxies, but also how we live our daily lives. From the first use of a compass for navigation to the modern ubiquity of computer hard drives, the practical benefits of harnessing magnetic fields have been clear. That this powerful physical force also comes with potential for harm is inevitable. The variable state of the Earth’s space environment is driven by changing conditions in the Sun’s magnetic fields, and is known as its “spaceweather”.  The damage inflicted by space weather storms on our technological systems can be extreme.  We are therefore motivated to understand the root causes of spaceweather hazards, and also how they may vary in years and decades to come (i.e., “space climate”).  In this talk, I will describe magnetism across time and space – from Sun to Earth, and from space weather to space climate.