New forces for a
"Just as gravity was the basis for astrophysics in the twentieth century,"
assert today's advocates of the plasma model, "electromagnetism will be
in the twenty-first century." This claim and challenge is offered with
growing conviction, thanks to a diverse collection of auspicious developments:
- Radically advanced equipment is becoming available for testing in the laboratory
plasma behaviors that are surprisingly comparable to those in cosmic space.
- Clear evidence of inter- and intra-galactic magnetic fields have been found.
- Current filaments have been detected in the interstellar medium.
- Supercomputer capabilities are now so great, and plasma modeling is so advanced,
thanks to efforts to model nuclear weapons, that a new era of modeling cosmological
phenomena is upon us.
In the details of these developments, as presented in four accompanying sidebars,
we see the emerging face of astrophysics in the twenty-first century.