Welcome to my work-in-progress Wiki homepage
Yes, DrPaul0401 really is a doctor, but not the medical type. (The sight of blood makes me faint.)
I'm a Doctor of Physics. My broad specialty is Theoretical Atomic Physics and most of my work is in the field of low-temperature Plasma Physics. I like to call it Plasma Physics in the Real World. That is to distinguish it from Fusion Plasmas very hot, high energy plasmas with very little atomic physics. Real-world plasmas are cold plasmas in practical devices. Mostly I deal with fluorescent lights, plasma TVs and plasma etching reactors (micro-electronics manufacturing equipment.) Generally, I do computer modeling of these systems.
Now I'm just gonna ramble...
Since Climate Modeling is so much in the news these days, I thought I'd mention that Plasma modeling is rather similar to climate modeling - the modeling of hydro-dynamic systems. Of course, there are differences. Since plasmas are composed of a significant number of charged particles, we have to worry about the electric and magnetic fields because these fields affect how the charged particles move. But problem is that, every time the charged particles move, they change the nature of the electric and magnetic fields. Also, since low temperature plasmas have many fast-moving free electrons we have to worry about all of the possible electron-driven and chemical reactions that can occur in plasma state. But to do that requires keeping track of all the electrons and their collisions with other atoms and molecules in the system - everywhere.
Even though you hear about how complicated climate modeling is, you might think that plasma modeling is even worse!
Well, I don't know about that... There are a few advantages we have in modeling plasma systems. First of all, we know what the power source is and exactly how it behaves. We know all of the gas constituents in the plasma and all of the reactions that can take place within it. We know the exact boundary conditions of the system - both its geometry and the surface interactions. Plus, we can do controlled experiments on the actual systems we're modeling to help improve and test our models. So in these regards, we're sitting pretty. And even with all these nice things, it's tough to get the right answer.
So pity the poor climate modeler who must deal with several unknowns at many different levels of the model.