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PSC Science in the News: National Geographic & New York Times

Earth shown with magnetic fields

The first coherent explanation of magnetic field reversal.

PITTSBURGH, July 13, 2004 — This week’s Science section of the New York Times features “Will Compasses Point South?,” an article discussing evidence of polarity reversal in Earth’s magnetic field. The article highlights graphics from pioneering 1995 simulations of Gary Glatzmaier and Paul Roberts, who developed the first self-consistent computational model of the geodynamo and relied on PSC’s CRAY C90 to successfully simulate magnetic-field reversal. Here’s the PSC article on this breakthrough computation.

The July issue of National Geographic features “The Sun: Living with a Stormy Star,” which details, with lavish graphics, the current status of solar science. You’ll have to look at the hardcopy to appreciate this article, but here’s an online preview.

This article refers to two large simulations at PSC. One by Juri Toomre and colleagues (p. 19) includes a graphic generated from recent large-scale simulations on LeMieux. Here’s a PSC article on related work by Toomre and colleagues on sunspots.

Simulation of Earth's Magnetosphere

Earth’s Magnetosphere during a solar magnetic storm.

The other PSC simulation referenced in the article (pp. 28-29) was carried out by Charles Goodrich of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling. This 1997 work used PSC’s CRAY C90 to provide timely, high-quality visualization of a major solar storm that occurred in January 1997. Here’s the PSC article on this unprecedented, detailed study of space weather.


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Michael Schneider
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

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