Planets, stars and galaxies contain electrically conducting fluids or plasmas. Motions in these fluids induce magnetic fields, which can significantly affect the structure, activity, evolution and other basic properties of the bodies concerned. Although the fundamental equations governing these processes are thought to be known, the phenomena that arise in different objects and regimes vary greatly, and the detailed mechanisms involved are still the subject of vigorous research.
This group explores the operation of MHD processes in a variety of contexts, including planets, stars, accretion discs, the interstellar medium, and galaxy clusters, as well as in more idealised, generic, contexts. Particular topics of interest include planetary dynamos, geomagnetic field reversals, magnetic torques in accretion discs and binary stars, galactic dynamos, interstellar turbulence, and magnetic Taylor–Couette flow.
Active collaborations exist with groups in Bonn (MPI fuer Radioastronomie), Copenhagen/Stockholm (Nordita), Liverpool University (Earth and Ocean Sciences), Manchester University (Mathematics), Perm (ICMM) and Pune (IUCAA).
Further details of this research are available via the personal webpages of individual staff.