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Published July 12, 1965 | public
Journal Article Open

Absolute stability of Melvin's magnetic universe

Thorne, Kip S.


The physical structure of Melvin's magnetic universe is briefly examined and its dynamical behavior under arbitrarily large radial perturbations is discussed. It is shown that no radial perturbation can cause the magnetic field to undergo gravitational collapse to a singularity or electromagnetic explosion to infinite dispersion. Rather, when arbitrarily perturbed inside a finite region, the magnetic and gravitational fields undergo damped, turbulent oscillation until they have radiated away from the perturbed region all the energy associated with the perturbation. Then they settle down into Melvin's unperturbed, static configuration.

Additional Information

©1965 The American Physical Society. Received 9 November 1964. The author is indebted to Professor J. A. Wheeler for suggesting this problem, and for many helpful discussions during its execution. He also wishes to thank Professor M. A. Melvin for a helpful exchange of ideas. The numerical computations were performed on the Princeton University IBM-7094 computer, which is supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant NSF-GP 579. This work was supported in part by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and by the National Science Foundation. [K.S.T. was a] Danforth Foundation Feloow, 1963-1964; National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow 1964-65.


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