For anyone interested in reading Alfven's double layer paper, you can find it here:B. Magnetic Merging — A Pseudo-Science
Since then I have stressed in a large number of papers the danger of using the frozen-in concept. For example, in a paper "Electric Current Structure of the Magnetosphere" (Alfvén, 1975), I made a table showing the difference between the real plasma and "a fictitious medium" called "the pseudo-plasma," the latter having frozen in magnetic field lines moving with the plasma. The most important criticism of the "merging" mechanism of energy transfer is due to Heikkila (1973) who with increasing strength has demonstrated that it is wrong. In spite of all this, we have witnessed at the same time an enormously voluminous formalism building up based on this obviously erroneous concept. Indeed, we have been burdened with a gigantic pseudo-science which penetrates large parts of cosmic plasma physics. The monograph CP treats the field-line reconnection (merging) concept in 1.3, 11.3, and 11.5. We may conclude that anyone who uses the merging concepts states by implication that no double layers exist.
A new epoch in magnetospheric physics was inaugurated by L. Lyons and D. Williams' monograph (1985). They treat magnetospheric phenomena systematically by the particle approach and demonstrate that the fluid dynamic approach gives erroneous results. The error of the latter approach is of a basic character. Of course there can be no magnetic merging energy transfer.
I was naive enough to believe that such a pseudo-science would die by itself in the scientific community, and I concentrated my work on more pleasant problems. To my great surprise the opposite has occurred; the "merging" pseudo-science seems to be increasingly powerful. Magnetospheric physics and solar wind physics today are no doubt in a chaotic state, and a major reason for this is that some of the published papers are science and part pseudoscience, perhaps even with a majority for the latter group.
In those parts of solar physics which do not deal with the interior of the Sun and the dense photospheric region (fields where the frozen-in concept may be valid), the state is even worse. It is difficult to find theoretical papers on the low density regions which are correct. The present state of plasma astrophysics seems to be almost completely isolated from the new concepts of plasma which the in situ measurements on space plasma have made necessary (see Section VIII).
I sincerely hope that the increased interest in the study of double layers — which is fatal to this pseudoscience — will change the situation. Whenever we find a double layer (or any other E ll # 0) we hammer a nail into the coffin of the "merging" pseudo-science.
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf
The bottom line is that Alfven continuously and methodically used *circuit theory mathematics* to describe high energy events in *light* and/or current carrying plasma. He used circuit theory with respect to the Earth's magnetosphere, and with respect to coronal loops in solar theory, and pretty much everywhere in "spacetime' for that matter. The only exception would have been *dense*, non current carrying environments.
Keep in mind that it makes perfect sense to look at the *entire circuit energy* when trying to explain something like coronal loops, or the Earth's aurora, or something that requires a continuous flow of current over an extended period of time.
Now of course it's possible to *induce* a particle flow inside of any conductor by introducing a changing magnetic field into that conductive environment. That process of the transfer of magnetic field energy into charged particle acceleration inside of a conductor already has a proper scientific name, specifically *induction*.
Furthermore, the introduction of changing magnetic fields into a pure vacuum also has a proper scientific name which you can find in any EM textbook, specifically magnetic flux. When we radically modify the magnetic field topology inside of any conductor, including a plasma, it will of course induce currents in the conductor. In the case of plasma, the ions can move and do move as a result of those magnetic field topology changes and E fields, not just electrons.
When astronomers attempt to "dumb down" all the mathematical formulas in plasma with respect to B, they often forget one very *important* aspect of the physics, as most amusingly and irrationally exemplified by rantings of Clinger, RC, "The Man" and JonesDave116 over at ISF.
When Clinger claimed to have described "magnetic reconnection" in a vacuum, he left out one *extremely critical component in the process in plasma known as "magnetic reconnection", namely the transfer of magnetic field energy into charged particle movement.
Emphasis mine. Now of course we need A) plasma, and we must B) *transfer field energy* into particle movement to get a non zero amount of "magnetic reconnection" to occur. Without a charged particle to his name, poor pitifully confused Clinger didn't even has the *physical capacity* to transfer any magnetic field energy into particle acceleration.Magnetic reconnection is a physical process in highly conducting plasmas in which the magnetic topology is rearranged and magnetic energy is converted to kinetic energy, thermal energy, and particle acceleration. Magnetic reconnection occurs on timescales intermediate between slow resistive diffusion of the magnetic field and fast Alfvénic timescales.
When PPPL and such do their experiments with so called "magnetic reconnection", they almost always begin *and end* with an E field, *plasma*, and electrical current. They then move the *currents/circuits in plasma* into proximity with one another, and the twister shaped plasma channels "rewire" themselves. It's actually "circuit reconnection", or 'particle reconnection", but magnetic fields don't have a source or a sink. Magnetic *fields* don't form in little tiny "lines" either, they form as a complete 3D *field continuum*. Magnetic lines have no beginning, no ending, no source, no sink, and no capacity to "disconnect from" one source, or reconnect to another sink. There's no such thing as a monopole, so that idea is pure oversimplified nonsense.
What is of course happening inside any current carrying double layer is completely described in Alfven's double layer paper *without* the need for "magnetic reconnection". He made that idea completely irrelevant in all current carrying environments.
Even "The Man" over at ISF thinks that ordinary magnetic flux in a vacuum is exactly the same as transferring field energy into particle acceleration. Their entire argument and belief system around "reconnection in a vacuum" (using 'fridge magnets in the "The Man's case) is based upon a gross *oversimplification fallacy*. The easy way to demonstrate that fact conclusively is to point out that to this very day Clinger has been utterly incapable of producing any mathematical equation to describe the *non zero rate* of "reconnection" that he claims to have achieved in a vacuum.
The reason that Alfven called the whole idea of "magnetic reconnection" *pseudoscience* is because it's only *pseudo* correct (mathematically: since we can logically solve Maxwell's equations for B), and the name being used to describe the process is confusing and misleading, and leads to absurd claims and beliefs. That's why Alfven just rejected the idea outright, and he mathematically described the process that occurs in current carrying environments in his double layer paper *without* using the term "magnetic reconnection".
Now of course it's "possible" to solve any equation for E or for B, and it can be "right" from a mathematical perspective. That doesn't mean that any and all *physical claims* are "right" however. Magnetic fields form as a complete and full continuum. When the field changes, the *whole field topology changes*, not little esoteric lines. Magnetic fields have source, and no sink. There is no such thing as a "monopole" either. It's therefore physically *impossible* for magnetic "lines" to 'disconnect from" or "reconnect to" any other magnetic line. They are not actually "lines' in the first place, that's simply an oversimplification to start with!
Since we can "solve" the equations for B, I don't necessarily "deny" the process happens, I simply call it "circuit reconnection', or *particle reconnection*, but it's irrational to call it 'magnetic reconnection".