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Karl Schindler

Karl Schindler
Karl Schindler

The 2014 Hannes Alfvén Medal is awarded to Karl Schindler for his illuminating contributions to the dynamics of the solar corona, the magnetosphere and astrophysical plasmas through elegant theoretical analyses of fundamental plasma phenomena such as equilibria, stability, current sheets and reconnection.

Karl Schindler has made ground-breaking contributions to our theoretical understanding of fundamental processes in magnetospheric and solar plasma physics. He has formulated theoretical foundations of magnetospheric physics and his contributions play a major role in the theory of the substorm mechanism, general magnetic reconnection, tearing-mode instability, helicity, and time-dependent convection in the magnetotail. Schindler’s contributions are now canonical studies in magnetospheric physics. With his analyses of non-linear and self-consistent equilibria in plasmas and descriptions of the formation of thin-current sheets, Schindler also made fundamental contributions to our current understanding of solar flares, coronal mass ejections and coronal heating.

Schindler developed an asymptotic analytic approach to describe stretched plasma equilibrium structures. Such structures are ubiquitous in solar and astrophysical contexts and represent key structures heralding the onset of space activity. Schindler also developed an extension to describe the slow evolution of such structures, involving slow plasma flows. This theory forms a basis for a new generation of inner magnetospheric models. Schindler demonstrated, for the first time, the critical role of the electric field parallel to the magnetic field in magnetic reconnection. His investigations remain the basis of our understanding today, and they play a key role in the conception of forefront space research investigations such as NASA’s Magnetospheric MultiScale mission.

The Alfvén Medal is a most appropriate honour to recognise Schindler for his many outstanding contributions to the current understanding of fundamental plasma physical processes including equilibria, stability, current sheets and reconnection, and of the dynamics of the solar corona, the magnetosphere and astrophysical plasmas.