Magnetohydrodynamics is a rapidly advancing subject. When the writing of this book was first begun, its main application was to geophysical or astronomical problems; in the last year or two its engineering aspects have begun to be recognized. While the emphasis in the book is on the geophysical and astronomical applications, it is hoped that its publication may expedite developments in both fields.

Magnetohydrodynamics assumes an electrically conducting medium, which may be a liquid or an ionized gas. Both can be treated in a common theory if the ionized gas can be regarded as a continuous fluid. This is normally assumed to be the case in the present book. Certain problems of ionized gases in which this assumption is not made are considered by Dr. Lyman Spitzer, Jr., in another tract of this series.

Some knowledge of Maxwell's equations and of the basic equations of hydrodynamics is assumed in the reader. Vector methods are freely used, including transformations involving the curl and divergence of vectors, and expressions in terms of cylindrical polar coordinates. The bibliography, though not intended to be complete, gives a few of the more important papers on the subject of each chapter.

I wish gratefully to acknowledge permission by the Royal Astronomical Society to copy Figs. 4, 6, 9, and 10; by the Royal Society of London to copy Figs. 3, 11, and 12; and by the editors of Nature to copy Fig. 14. I should like also to acknowledge the assistance of several friends, and particularly of Dr. M. Savedoff, who read the manuscript and made suggestions for its improvement.


September, 1956 Leeds, England . . .

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