Postgraduate Plasma Physics Lectures, Imperial College


(Spring Term 2008: lectures on Wednesdays, 1:30-3:30pm, 741 Blackett)

Alexander Schekochihin


The lecturer should give the audience full reason to believe that all
his powers have been exerted for their pleasure and instruction.

Michael Faraday.

Here I will post some information on the material we have covered in the past lectures, plans for the upcoming lectures, suggestions for additional reading, original references, problem sheets, scheduling notices etc.

Note that my presentation will not necessarily be based on the reading suggestions below. These are given simply so that you know where to look for an alternative (and in many cases much more extensive) account of the material discussed in class.

Reading Suggestions

There is number of short review-style Russian books written in the 60s. They contain all these quasilinear/weak-turbulence theories in their original form. They are still probably the best thing to read, although they are written in a rather terse way and are not always crystal clear. Unfortunately they are all out of print, but can still be found in libraries, on, and on the shelves of the older generation of plasma researchers. All these books present the theory in different styles and choose somewhat different sets of examples. I particularly recommend the first two on the list.

1. Kadomtsev, Plasma Turbulence (Academic Press 1965)
2. Sagdeev & Galeev, Nonlinear plasma theory (W. A. Benjamin Inc., 1969)
3. Vedenov, Theory of Turbulent Plasma (Iliffe Books Ltd, 168)
4. Tsytovich, Nonlinear Effects in Plasma (Plenium Press, 1970)
5. Tsytovich, An Introduction to the Theory of Plasma Turbuelnce (Pergamon, 1972)

On weak turbulence, this book is the official bible:

6. Zakharov, L'vov & Falkovich, Kolmogorov Spectra of Turbulence I (Springer, 1992) --- also out of print, but an updated online version exists

On strong turbulence, mostly hydrodynamic, here are a few standard books

7. Landau & Lifschitz, Fluid Mechanics (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1995) --- The most concise and lucid account of Kolmogorov's 1941 theory you are likely to find 33-34
8. Frisch, Turbulence: The Legacy of A. N. Kolmogorov (Cambridge U Press, 1995) --- A book that is now a standard reference. It presents Kolmogorov's theory very thoroughly (if in a somewhat formal way). Also contains a long chapter reviewing the literature and the modern (as of 1995) state of the subject.
9. Davidson, Turbulence --- An Introduction for Scientists and Engineers (Oxford U Press, 2004) ---  A very well written compendium of knowledge on turbulence. Everything you ever wanted to know about it but were afraid to ask.
10. Batchelor, The Theory of Homogeneous Turbulence (Cambridge U Press, 1982) --- A classic essay on turbulence.
11. Monin & Yaglom, Statistical Fluid Mechanics: Mechanics of Turbulence, 2 vols. (MIT Press, 1979) --- The Russian turbulence bible by two of Kolmogorov's disciples.
12. Pope, Turbulent Flows (Cambridge U Press, 2000) --- An engineering-style monograph.
13. McComb, The Physics of Fluid Turbulence (Clarendon, 1992) --- A good monograph on closure schemes, if you must know about them.

If you want to brush up on your plasma physics, you all know your favorite student books, but here are some adult plasma books that you might enjoy reading even if you already know everything:

14. Spitzer, Physics of Fully Ionized Gases (Wiley, 1962) --- A classic of plasma physics by the founder of the US fusion program.
15. Longmire, Elementary Plasma Physics
16. Klimontovich, The Statistical Theory of Non-Equilibrium Processes in a Plasma (MIT Press 1967) --- Here you can learn about the Klimontovich distribution function, BBGKY hierarchy, and many other things.
17. Handbook of Plasma Physics, edited by Galeev & Sudan, 2 vols. (North-Holland, 1983, 1984) --- The bible of laboratory plasma physics. Review articles by the leading scientists. Quality varies, but the book as a whole is a good resource. Has chapters on weak turbulence by Zakharov, Sagdeev & Galeev.
18. Alexandrov, Bogdankevich & Rukhadze, Principles of Plasma Electrodynamics (Springer, 1984) --- An excellent and ultra-systematic treatment of plasma physics (except, unfortunately, the section on quasilinear theory, which is full of sloppy typos).
19. Kulsrud, Plasma Physics for Astrophysics (Princeton U Press, 2005) --- Lots of physical insight into everything.

Finally, an indispensable resource:
20. NRL Plasma Formulary (it is online and they will also send you a free paper copy courtesy of US Navy).

Where relevant, I will post some further references below...