MAS422 Magnetohydrodynamics

Semester 2, 2021/22 10 Credits
Lecturer: Dr Yi Li Reading List
Aims Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment

Magnetohydrodynamics has been successfully applied to a number of astrophysical problems (e.g., to problems in Solar and Magnetospheric Physics), as well as to problems related to laboratory physics, especially to fusion devices. This module gives an introduction to classical magnetohydrodynamics. Students will get familiar with the system of magnetohydrodynamic equations and main theorems that follow from this system (e.g., conservation laws, anti-dynamo theorem). They will study the simplest magnetic equilibrium configurations, propagation of linear waves, and magnetohydrodynamic stability.

Prerequisites: MAS222 (Differential Equations); MAS280 (Mechanics and Fluids)
No other modules have this module as a prerequisite.

Outline syllabus

  • The system of magnetohydrodynamic equations and its main properties.
  • Magnetohydrodynamics equilibria.
  • Propagation of magnetohydrodynamic waves.
  • Magnetohydrodynamic stability.
  • Magnetic dynamo.


  • To introduce the system of magnetohydrodynamic equations.
  • To describe the main properties of this system of equations.
  • To show using simple examples how this system of equations can be applied to different astrophysical and laboratory phenomena.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should have:
  • Understood the main principles of magnetohydrodynamics.
  • Studied the main properties of motion of conducting fluids.
  • Developed expertise in solving magnetohydrodynamic equations.

Teaching methods


20 lectures, no tutorials


One formal 2.5 hour written examination. Format: 2 questions.

Reading list

Type Author(s) Title Library Blackwells Amazon
B Goedbloed and Poedts Principles of Magnetohydrodynamics 538.6 (G) Blackwells Amazon
B Goossens Introduction to Plasma Astrophysics and Magnetohydrodynamics 523.2 (G) Blackwells Amazon
B Priest Solar Magneto-hydrodynamics 523.72 (P) Blackwells Amazon

(A = essential, B = recommended, C = background.)

Most books on reading lists should also be available from the Blackwells shop at Jessop West.