The quasi-totality of the visible matter in the universe is in the state of ionized gas, or plasma. Stars, active galactic nuclei, interplanetary, interstellar and intergalactic space, planetary magnetospheres and ionospheres, are all mostly made of plasma, whose dynamics is primarily determined by gravitational and electromagnetic interactions.
Space and astrophysical plasmas are characterized by complex dynamics and nonlinear phenomena.
Turbulence, shocks, instabilities, magnetic reconnection, field-particle interactions and other fundamental weakly collisional plasma processes occur on a broad range of temporal and spatial scales.
ISTP researchers are engaged in the study of these processes and of their interplay through theoretical and numerical modeling, as well as experimental analysis of in-situ spacecraft measurements and remote observations, aiming at advancing our understanding of the way the solar system and the plasma universe work.