On November 24th, Dr. Arno Vanthieghem (Princeton University) gave a talk about the energy equipartition in Weibel-mediated shock waves. Shock waves relevant to astrophysical phenomena, such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, form via collective plasma processes. In the so-called collision-less shock waves, how exactly the different plasma species (thermal and suprathermal ions and electrons) share energy through dissipation is an open question. In the talk, he gave a broad overview and described the current understanding of this issue based on his recent studies. He carried out analytical kinetic estimates, semi-analytical Monte Carlo calculations, and ab-initio Particle-In-Cell simulations to tackle this issue in a wide range of shock velocities ranging from relativistic to non-relativistic regimes. In particular, he has introduced a theoretical model that can describe electron heating through the interplay between pitch-angle scattering in the microturbulence and the coherent electrostatic field induced by the difference in inertia between species. He has shown how successfully the model can be applied to unmagnetized shocks (shocks formed in a plasma without a background magnetic field). During and after the seminar, we had very fruitful discussions. We are grateful for the excellent talk and the great opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with him.

Reported by Hirotaka Ito