Ph.D. Thesis

Galactic Dynamics with Magnetic Fields

Gregory G. Howes

University of California, Los Angeles, (2004)


Contributing to the effort to unravel the origin and understand the evolution of magnetic fields in the universe, this dissertation focuses on the evolution of the Galactic magnetic field through analytical and numerical approaches. The current state of research into magnetism in the universe is reviewed, with particular emphasis on synthesizing a unified view of the various environments in which magnetic fields have been observed. An analytical examination of the stability of magnetic fields in a sheared flow is presented. Gradient Particle Magnetohydrodynamics is a new computational algorithm for MHD simulation developed here with validation tests of the method to display its capabilities. Adaptive Particle Refinement provides a general adaptive framework into which this new algorithm can be fit, promising improved computational efficiency and better stability characteristics. A model for numerical evolution of the magnetized Galactic disk is described. Preliminary results of two-dimensional Galactic disk simulations are analyzed to demonstrate the potential of this new computational tool and lend insight into the evolution of the Galactic magnetic field.