Hannes Alfven

  • From:

    University of California at San Diego | San Diego, California │ Royal Institute of Technology │ Stockholm, Sweden

  • Year:


  • Subject:

    Benjamin Franklin Medal: Physics

  • Award:


  • Citation:

    For contributions to magnetohydrodynamics and cosmical electrodynamics.

Hannes Alfven made contributions to physics that have been applied in the development of particle beam accelerators, controlled thermonuclear fusion, hypersonic flight, rocket propulsion, and the braking of reentering space vehicles. At the same time, applications of his research in space science include explanations of the Van Allen radiation belt, the reduction of the earth's magnetic field during magnetic storms, the magnetosphere (a protective plasma envelope surrounding the earth), the formation of comet tails, the formation of the solar system, the dynamics of plasmas in our galaxy, and the fundamental nature of the universe itself.

In 1970, Hannes Alfven was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for fundamental work and discoveries in magneto-hydrodynamics with fruitful applications in different parts of plasma physics. In 1988, Alfven was awarded the Bowie medal of the American Geophysical Union for his work three decades earlier on comets and plasmas in the solar system. Born in 1908, Hannes Alfven died in 1995.

Information as of 1995