Physics Colloquium: Current Challenges and Opportunities in Radiation Belt and Waves Research
Jacob Bortnick, UCLA
Friday, May 4, 2012, 3:30pm
More than 50 years after the discovery of the radiation belts, many of the key physical processes that control the structure and dynamics of these high energy electrons remain poorly understood, poorly quantified, or both. An emerging consensus holds that the dramatic variability that is observed in the outer belt is the result of a competition between acceleration and loss of particles, driven by several types of waves and magnetospheric structures, but the nature of the waves, their distribution, spectral structure, and precise action on the particles remains a topic of intense research. In this talk, I will review some of the events and discoveries that have led to our current understanding of radiation belt physics, outline some open problems and challenges, and describe how some of these might be addressed by the upcoming Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission.