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Physics of the plasma universe. 2nd ed. (English) Zbl 1306.82001
New York, NY: Springer (ISBN 978-1-4614-7818-8/hbk; 978-1-4614-7819-5/ebook). xx, 406 p. (2015).
The reviewer does not know the first edition of this work, therefore the impressions refer only to this edition.
This book is the result of four decades of research work of a well-known specialist, this period has been spent in different frontiers of plasma research. This is well reflected by the somewhat extraordinary composition of the whole book. Maybe, this is the property of this book, which offers the reader a deep impression. And that’s why the book excells with its unique and modern character. The reviewer cannot do anything else than to offer a reference of the table of contents. The book starts with an introductory chapter on fundamental facts of plasma phenomena. (Already, from the first paragraphs the reader finds some remarks, which are outside “plasma physics”.) Then the author treats the Birkeland currents in cosmic plasma, again, an unusual method reveals itself in the exposé of the facts and methods of the theory: the frequent citation of Kristian Birkeland (1867–1917) and his obserrvations. This chapter is followed by the introduction of the Biot-Savart law and magnetic fields in plasmas. The author introduces then the electric fields in cosmic plasmas (this is where the magnetosphere phenomena are discussed and the questions of surface discharges in laboratory and in the nature are described). Next, one finds double layers and again next comes the synchrotron radiation. After this chapter, the author writes on the transport of cosmic radiation (properties of energy transport, application possibility of geometrical optics, black body radiation, the description of source function, the Kirchhoff law, the plasma filaments, etc.) A new chapter is offered to the critical ionization and again, a new one to the neutral hydrogen filaments. The next two units deal with computer simulations of (cosmic) plasma processes. A new one is consacred to the concept of field-aligned currents (here again Birkeland comes in with his Terella). Also, the strong aurora processes are discussed. The plasma astrophysics is introduced in a chapter where the “cosmic phenomena” are treated from the near earth presence to cosmic nebular and spiral galaxies, showing the extremely long range of the applicability of plasma physics concept, from the laboratory dimemions \((10^{-1}\)m) to Hubble distances \((10^{26}\)m). In the appendices, a review is offered on a transmission line concept in the laboratory and in the cosmos; the question of polarisation of electromagnetic waves is discussed; and a resumé is given on dusty and grain plasmas. At the end, a table of useful constants and units is offered.
The reviewer believes that the volume of this book reflects a life-long successful activity and an always sensible researcher, whose research and curiosity is inspiring. In the rich list of references (at the end of each chapter), the reader will also find quite a lot of original publications of the author.
So we see that this book is not only an extraordinary “introduction” to plasma physics, but also a rich table of actual problems which happen to be not conducted to the “final” points – in which the author ocassionally contributed.
So, congratulations to the author for having written this volume, and warmest stimulations to the readers: they shall be pleased reading this book!

MSC:
82-02 Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to statistical mechanics
82D10 Statistical mechanics of plasmas
85A40 Astrophysical cosmology
83F05 Relativistic cosmology
00A79 Physics
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