Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Reader 1

Lisette de Pillis

Reader 2

Leaf Turner, Los Alamos National Labs


When a ferromagnet is heated, it loses its magnetism. Stars and planets have magnetic fields, as does the Earth. But it is known that the center of the Earth is very hot. Therefore, to sustain the large magnetic field of a planet, we cannot look to simple ferromagnetism like that of a bar magnet, but we have to look at the movement of electric charges within the Earth’s molten core to generate magnetic field. This magnetic field sustainment against ohmic dissipation by turbulent flow is referred to as the turbulent dynamo effect. Theoretical research into the mechanisms that create the dynamo has been actively pursued for several decades, culminating recently in massive computer simulations of the Earth’s core. Most of these studies have employed the equations of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), a nonlinear theory of electrically conducting fluids. The EDQNM (Eddy-Damped Quasi-Normal Markovian) closure is a statistical model designed so that the turbulence equations derived from Navier-Stokes dynamics can be closed and satisfy the realizability condition of positivity of the kinetic energy spectrum. In case of MHD turbulence, realizability requires more work. We have proved in an earlier work that equations analogous to those expected of the EDQNM closure for MHD without mean fields satisfy the appropriate realizability conditions (Turner and Pratt 1999). In this work, we discuss requirements needed to make the MHD equations realizable with mean fields, extending those of neutral fluid turbulence by Turner [1]. Finally, we discuss direct numerical simulations and the correspondence of the statistical theories with simulation results.

jpratt-2001-prop.pdf (69 kB)
Thesis Proposal