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assignment Level : Intermediate
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timer 40 hours in total

About the content

Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is by far the most abundant form of known matter in the universe. Its behavior is very different from the other states of matter we are usually familiar with. To understand it, a rigorous formalism is required. This is essential not only to explain important astrophysical phenomena, but also to optimize many industrial and medical applications and for achieving fusion energy on Earth.

This physics course, taught by world-renowned experts of the field, gives you the opportunity to acquire a basic knowledge of plasma physics. A rigorous introduction to the plasma state will be followed by a description of the models, from single particle, to kinetic and fluid, which can be applied to study its dynamics. You will learn about the waves that can exist in a plasma and how to mathematically describe them, how a plasma can be controlled by magnetic fields, and how its complex and fascinating behavior is simulated using today’s most powerful supercomputers.

This course is the first of two courses introducing plasma physics and its applications. After completing this course, you will have the prerequisites to enjoy Plasma Physics: Applications, which deals with plasma applications in astrophysics, industry, medicine, nuclear fusion and laser-plasma interaction.

  • Basic knowledge of plasma physics and the different models used to describe plasmas
  • An understanding of how to numerically simulate complex plasma dynamics
  • Basic knowledge of MATLAB programming through introduction videos and exercises

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Prerequisite

  • General physics (electricity and magnetism)
  • Vector calculus

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Syllabus

  • Week 1: Description of the plasma state
  • Week 2: Kinetic description of plasmas
  • Week 3: Fluid description of plasmas
  • Week 4: Fluid description of plasmas II
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Instructors

Ambrogio Fasoli
Director of the Swiss Plasma Center
EPFL

Paolo Ricci
Associate Professor
EPFL

Alan Howling
Senior Scientist, Basic Plasma Physics and Applications
EPFL

Christian Theiler
Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Plasma Physics
EPFL

Duccio Testa
Experimental Plasma Physics
EPFL

Ivo Furno
Adjunct Professor
EPFL

Jean-Philippe Hogge
Senior scientist, Gyrotron Development Group
EPFL

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Content Designer

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, English: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) is a research university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specialises in physical sciences and engineering.

One of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, the school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government with the stated mission to:

Educate engineers and scientists to the highest international standing
Be a national center of excellence in science and technology
Provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and the industry
EPFL is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world for engineering and sciences, ranking 17th overall and 10th in engineering in the 2015 QS World University Rankings; 34th overall and 12th in engineering in the 2015 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

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