J. Phys. IV France 07 (1997) C4-113-C4-132
The Birkeland Terrella Experiments and their Importance for the Modern Synergy of Laboratory and Space Plasma PhysicsK. Rypdal and T. Brundtland
Department of Physics, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
A study of the evolution of Kristian Birkeland's theories of cosmical physics is presented, with special reference to his laboratory gas-discharge experiments. It is found that his most important thoughts were molded from an intense cross-fertilization between laboratory experiments, geophysical observations and mathematical modelling. Occasionally, original ideas of fundamental importance in the cosmic context emerged from unexpected laboratory results. Possible implications for a sound cross-disciplinary approach to modern plasma science are discussed.
© EDP Sciences 1997