JOINT MAE-CER SEMINAR
Outstanding Problems in Astroparticle Physics for Plasma Physicists
Cosmic rays are subatomic particles, primarily protons, that at their highest energies (exceeding 10^20 eV [!]) permeate the entire Universe. Inside galaxies like our own, they are well confined by the galactic magnetic fields up to the energies of a few orders of magnitude below the maximum. Nevertheless, their contribution to the energy budget of interstellar space is similar to or slightly exceeds, that of the microwave background, magnetic field, thermal plasma, or starlight. Cosmic rays were discovered almost incidentally a century ago but quickly became the principal instrument of the incipient particle physics until the human-made accelerators took over. As the latter are exhausting capacity, cosmic rays are rapidly regaining their position as an invaluable probe into the structure of the matter and high-energy processes in the universe. I will discuss recent unexpected observation results on galactic cosmic ray spectra, measured with unprecedented accuracy. Hotly debated possible association of these results with the dark matter decay or annihilation will be compared and contrasted with less exotic explanations. These are based on the plasma physics of collisionless shocks launched by the supernova explosions.
Dr. Mikhail Malkov graduated from National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow), in particle physics. He has a PhD from the Space Research Institute, Moscow, in theoretical and mathematical physics, where has held research positions. Subsequently, Dr. Malkov worked at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Dr. Malkov has been with UCSD since 1999.