ESS415/515 Winter 2014 Latest update: 2/24/14 4:35 PM

This is the index page for:

Space and Plasmas (ESS415/515) for Winter 2014

Instructor: Prof. R. H. Holzworth (206-685-7410 or

 Caveat: These pages are intended for the exclusive use of registered students in the class and are designed as an aid in the distribution of classroom materials. These web pages ARE NOT DESIGNED AS A FULLY WEB-BASED COURSE in introductory plasma physics



Homework Sets and Tests:

Problem set 1: ps1.w14.pdf

Problem set 2: ps2.w14.pdf

Problem set 3: ps3.w14.pdf

Problem set 4: ps4w14.pdf

Problem set 5: ps5w14.pdf

Midterm: (after single particle dynamics)

Problem set 6: ps6.w14.pdf

Take Home final to be passed out Friday March 14. If you want problem solutions, turn in your missing homework by then.


Organization of these web pages:

For more information contact: Prof. R. H. Holzworth at 206 685 7410, email at or web page

ESS 415/515 is given on MWF at 1230 027 JHN.

Office hours by agreement (usually before or after class can be arranged)

Text - Parks, George K., Physics of Space Plasma- An Introduction, Westview Press (Member of Perseus Books Group) 2004.

Bibliography of Reference Texts on bibliog_515.pdf.


Tentative Daily Outline (subject to update)

Introduction to plasma physics and this course: (class1) (emreview)

Plasma in the earth's environment (plasma_intro)

E&M review (Maxwell's Eqtn's, source functions, theorems, boundary conditions, etc)

What is a plasma - characteristic lengths and frequencies?

plasma frequency, collision frequency, distribution functions.

Lorentz transformation of E&B and Mag fields in space

Begin Single Particle Motion in E and B fields.

Parallel guiding center motion and term by term discussion of <V guiding center>. 

Bounce motion, magnetic bottle

finish bounce motion, discuss radiation belt organization.

Adiabatic Invariants. File begins midway through:

Ring Current, anomalous field effects.

Polarization Drift, finish radial diffusion, begin discussing Electric fields in Space, including the corotation of the plasmasphere.

Finish single particle motion/review

Start Collective Plasma Effects (Parks 5.1 - 5.3),

review session/your questions/attend if you like

In-class Midterm

Continue derivation of Plasma Equations

Generalized Ohms law and MHD Equations

Finish Generalized Ohms Law and start Field Line Motion, Frozen in Condition, etc


Putting it all together 

Ionospheric Currents

Finish ionospheric currents, then start waves: Alfven Waves in MHD

Plasma waves

plasma waves (and review).