Mathematics of the Sun

by · Aug 29, 2013 · 2 831 views ·

Dr. Nic Brummell (Applied Mathematics and Statistics, UCSC) August 28, 2013 Since our nearest and dearest star, the Sun, is the source of all life on our planet, it would be nice to know a little about it. Despite the fact that we can look at the Sun in amazing detail these days, we still understand very little about how it works in any detail. For example, out of the general chaos emerges the shockingly ordered and structured cycle of magnetic activity - or 'the sunspot cycle' as it is often popularly known. Basic mathematics has provided some great intuition as to how this might possibly be, but, as we test these theories using larger and larger supercomputers and therefore more and more realistic simulations, we find that our intuitive ideas often fail. This is great for job security but frustrating scientifically. Where do we go from here? Is it all doom and gloom? Will we conquer this problem? What about the dynamics of similar stars?

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