Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 313–324 | Cite as

On hierarchical cosmology

  • H. Alfvén


Progress in laboratory studies of plasmas and in the methods of transferring the results to cosmic conditions, together within situ measurements in the magnetospheres, are now causing a ‘paradigm transition’ in cosmic plasma physics. This involves an introduction ofinhomogeneous models with double layers, filaments, ‘cell walls’, etc.

Independently, it has been discovered that the mass distribution in the universe is highly inhomogeneous; indeed,hierarchical. According to de Vaucouleurs, the escape velocity of cosmic structures is 102–103 times below the Laplace-Schwarzschild limit, leaving avoid region which is identified as a key problem in cosmology.

It is shown that a plasma instability in the dispersed medium of the structures may produce this void and, hence, explain the hierarchical structure. The energy which is necessary may derive either from gravitation or from annihilation caused by a breakdown of cell walls. The latter alternative is discussed in detail. It leads to a ‘Fireworks Model’ of the evolution of the metagalaxy.

It is questioned whether the homogeneous four-dimensional big bang model can survive in an universe which is inhomogeneous and three-dimensional.


Cell Wall Laboratory Study Double Layer Plasma Physic Hierarchical Structure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alfvén, H.: 1981a,Cosmic Plasma, D. Reidel Publ. Co., Dordrecht, Holland.Google Scholar
  2. Alfvén, H.: 1981b,Astrophys. Space Sci. 79, 491.Google Scholar
  3. Charlier, C. V. L.: 1908,Astronomi och Fysik 4, 1.Google Scholar
  4. Charlier, C. V. L.: 1922,Astronomi och Fysik 16, 1.Google Scholar
  5. Charlier, C. V. L.: 1924,Publ. Astron. Soc. Pacific 37, 177.Google Scholar
  6. de Vaucouleurs, G.: 1970,Science 167, 1203.Google Scholar
  7. Fournier-d'Albe, E. E.: 1907,Two New Worlds, Longman and Co., London.Google Scholar
  8. Groth, E. J., Peebles, P. J. E., Seldner, M., and Soneira, R. M.: 1977,Sci. Am. 76, 00.Google Scholar
  9. Mendis, D. A., Houpis, H. L. F., and Hill, J. R.: 1982,J. Geophys. Res. (in press).Google Scholar
  10. Peebles, P. J. E.: 1980,The Large-Scale Structure of the Universe, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.Google Scholar
  11. Rogers, S. and Thompson, W. B.: 1980,Astrophys. Space Sci. 71, 257.Google Scholar
  12. Stecker, F. W., Protheroe, R. J., and Kazanas, D.: 1981, NASA Tech. Memo. 82118, Goddard Space Flight Center, Md., U.S.A.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Co 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Alfvén
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plasma PhysicsRoyal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations