Curriculum vitae and list of selected publications

Axel Brandenburg
Last updated: 4 June 2016

Note: in practice, my full CV is likely to be more up-to-date!

Born: 7 April 1959 in Heide, Federal Republic of Germany
Nationality: German
Marital status: Married, 1 child

University of Colorado, Boulder, 3665 Discovery Dr (SPSC-N216) and JILA (A604); see campus map
on leave from NORDITA, Roslagstullsbacken 23, AlbaNova University Center, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
cell: +1 (720) 401-7355
JILA: +1 (303) 492-9309
LASP: +1 (303) 735-7738



Abitur, Werner Heisenberg Gymnasium, Heide, June 1978

Dipl. Physik, University of Hamburg, January 1986, Diploma thesis: Hydrodynamics of convective bubbles in linear approximation

Lic. Phil., University of Helsinki, February 1989, Licentiate thesis: Kinematic dynamo theory and the solar activity cycle

Dr. Phil., University of Helsinki, May 1990, Doctoral dissertation: Challenges for solar dynamo theory: $\alpha$-effect, differential rotation and stability


Sep. 1990 - Aug. 1992:  Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Nordita, Copenhagen
Aug. 1992 - Nov. 1992:  Visiting Fellowship, University of Cambridge
Dec. 1992 - Nov. 1994:	Postdoctoral Research Fellow, High Altitude Observatory/NCAR, Boulder
Dec. 1994 - Jan. 1996:	Nordic Assistant Professor, Nordita, Copenhagen
Feb. 1996 - Dec. 2000:	Professor of Applied Mathematics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Jan. 2000 - Dec. 2006:	Professor of Astrophysics, Nordita (Copenhagen)
 since January 2007:	Professor of Astrophysics, Nordita (Stockholm) and Stockholm Univ.
Aug. 2015 - May 2018:   University of Colorado (Boulder): Visiting Professor

(see also:
Number of papers in refereed journals: 331
Number of invited conference reviews: 37
Number of communications to scientific meetings: 85

Fields of research

Solar physics, with emphasis on dynamo theory and turbulence theory; astrobiology, with emphasis on homochirality. Particular interests: solar and stellar activity, helioseismology, convection, differential rotation, galactic turbulence and magnetism, accretion discs, fractals in turbulence, relativistic hydrodynamics, early universe, magnetospheric physics.

Influential papers

Citations from Astrophysics Data System (ADS,
Brandenburg, A., & Subramanian, K.: 2005, ``Astrophysical magnetic fields and nonlinear dynamo theory,'' Phys. Rep. 417, 1-209 (number of citations on ADS: 423)

  • provides a unified treatment of small-scale and large-scale dynamos
  • explains saturation of large-scale dynamos through magnetic helicity conservation
  • detailed calculation of turbulent transport coefficients using minimal tau approximation
  • 9.
    Brandenburg, A.: 2005, ``The case for a distributed solar dynamo shaped by near-surface shear,'' Astrophys. J. 625, 539-547 (number of citations on ADS: 148)

  • argues that the solar dynamo may not be located in the tachocline, as previously thought
  • proposes that equatorward migration results from negative radial near-surface shear
  • first to demonstrate non-resistively limited saturation through magnetic helicity fluxes
  • shows the formation of bipolar regions locally near the surface without flux tube assumption
  • finds that tilt of bipolar regions depends just on shear, not on helicity (as previously thought)
  • first to demonstrate that large-scale fields can occur even without helicity and just shear
  • 8.
    Brandenburg, A.: 2001, ``The inverse cascade and nonlinear alpha-effect in simulations of isotropic helical hydromagnetic turbulence,'' Astrophys. J. 550, 824-840 (number of citations on ADS: 280)

  • establishes fundamental connection between inverse cascade in hydromagnetic turbulence and alpha effect in dynamo theory; first proto-typical simulation of alpha effect dynamo
  • inverse cascade found to operate on resistive timescale, not on dynamical, as previously thought
  • shows that this has to do with magnetic helicity conservation and derives saturation formula
  • 7.
    Korpi, M. J., Brandenburg, A., Shukurov, A., Tuominen, I., & Nordlund, Å.: 1999, ``A supernova regulated interstellar medium: simulations of the turbulent multiphase medium,'' Astrophys. J. Lett. 514, L99-L102 (number of citations on ADS: 112)

  • first realistic 3-D simulation of supernova-driven multi-phase interstellar medium
  • find segregation into 2 phases: warm/denser and hot/dilute and gives filling factors
  • demonstrates different rms velocities in warm (∼10 km/s) and hot (∼40 km/s) components
  • 6.
    Beck, R., Brandenburg, A., Moss, D., Shukurov, A., & Sokoloff, D.: 1996, ``Galactic magnetism: recent developments and perspectives,'' Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 34, 155-206 (number of citations on ADS: 517)

  • discussion of measurements of synchrotron radiation and dynamo theory for nearby galaxies
  • detailed models allowing for spiral structure, starbursts, galactic winds, and fountain flows
  • 5.
    Brandenburg, A., Enqvist, K., & Olesen, P.: 1996, ``Large-scale magnetic fields from hydromagnetic turbulence in the very early universe,'' Phys. Rev. D 54, 1291-1300 (number of citations on ADS: 113)

  • was the first to point out the possibility of an inverse cascade in the early Universe
  • addresses problem of horizon-scale magnetic fields from the electroweak phase transition; the horizon scale would be ∼3 cm corresponding to 1 AU after cosmological expansion, but emphasizes that this would become several kpc with inverse cascade
  • first to establish a shell model with magnetic helicity conservation
  • points out that in a flat expanding Universe the covariant hydromagnetic equation are the same as the usual relativistic ones for rescaled variables and conformal time
  • 4.
    Brandenburg, A., Jennings, R. L., Nordlund, Å., Rieutord, M., Stein, R. F., & Tuominen, I.: 1996, ``Magnetic structures in a dynamo simulation,'' J. Fluid Mech. 306, 325-352 (number of citations on ADS: 138)

  • detailed analysis of turbulent downward pumping in the vicinity of strong tubes
  • discovers the phenomenon of vortex buoyancy in low Prandtl number rotating convection
  • first analysis of correlations of magnetic fields with eigenvector of rate-of-strain matrix
  • 3.
    Brandenburg, A., Nordlund, Å., Stein, R. F., & Torkelsson, U.: 1995, ``Dynamo-generated turbulence and large scale magnetic fields in a Keplerian shear flow,'' Astrophys. J. 446, 741-754 (number of citations on ADS: 482)

  • first simulation showing that turbulence can be driven by the Balbus-Hawley (or magneto-rotational) instability with a field that in turn is generated by this very same turbulence
  • establishes self-consistent value for disc viscosity with Shakura-Sunyaev alpha of about 0.01
  • discovers oscillatory migratory large-scale field in shearing box simulation
  • finds that the dynamo alpha in shearing boxes is negative in the upper disc plane
  • first application of what is now known as the advective gauge for the magnetic vector potential
  • 2.
    Nordlund, Å., Brandenburg, A., Jennings, R. L., Rieutord, M., Ruokolainen, J., Stein, R. F., & Tuominen, I.: 1992, ``Dynamo action in stratified convection with overshoot,'' Astrophys. J. 392, 647-652 (number of citations on ADS: 169)

  • first fully compressible hydromagnetic dynamo simulation
  • addresses the then still prevailing idea of magnetic buoyancy by which magnetic flux would be removed before the dynamo has a chance to operate
  • shows that there is turbulent downward pumping and finds that it is at least equally strong than magnetic buoyancy
  • proposes that the dynamo works in the entire convection zone, but pumping concentrates magnetic flux at the bottom of the convection zone
  • argues that this mechanism is relevant to the Sun and other stars
  • 1.
    Brandenburg, A., Krause, F., Meinel, R., Moss, D., & Tuominen, I.: 1989, ``The stability of nonlinear dynamos and the limited role of kinematic growth rates,'' Astron. Astrophys. 213, 411-422 (number of citations on ADS: 135)

  • first simulation showing stable mixed parity solutions of nonlinear dynamo equations
  • relevant for explaining Maunder-minimum type variations of solar/stellar activity
  • argues against the significance of relative growth rate differences to the supercritical regime

  • Organization of conferences

    Feb 1996  NorFA Winter School on Magnetic fields in Space and Astrophysics (Levitunturi, Finnish Lapland)
    May 1997  UK-MHD meeting (Newcastle, England)
    Jan 2000  Physics of Accretion and Associated Outflows (Copenhagen)
    Jul 2000  Nordita Master Class in Physics (Copenhagen)
    Mar 2001  Dynamos in the Laboratory, Computer, and the Sky (Copenhagen)
    Jul 2001  Nordita Master Class in Physics (Hillerød)
    Jul 2002  Nordita Master Class in Physics (Hillerød)
    Jan 2004  Astrobiological Problems for Physicists (Copenhagen)
    Aug 2004  Astrobiological Problems for Physicists and Biologists (Turku, Finland)
    Sep 2004  Cosmic Ray Dynamics: from Turbulent to Galactic Scale Magnetic Fields (Copenhagen)
    Jan 2005  Meeting on Nordic Science Outreach (Copenhagen)
    Jan 2005  Astrobiology and Origins of Life (Copenhagen)
    Jul 2005  Nordita Master Class in Physics (Hillerød, in July)
    Jan 2006  Winter School on Astrobiology (Levitunturi, Finnish Lapland)
    Jun 2006  Workshop on Torsional oscillations in the Sun (Copenhagen)
    May 2007  New Trends in Radiation Hydrodynamics (Stockholm)
    Aug 2007  Pencil Code User Meeting (Stockholm)
    Nov 2007  Joint Nordic and SwAN Astrobiology meeting (Stockholm)
    Feb 2008  Program on the Origins of Homochirality (Stockholm)
    Sep 1009  Program on Solar and Stellar Cycles (Stockholm)
    May 2010  Program on Turbulent combustion (Stockholm)
    Feb 2011  RädlerFest: α effect and beyond (Stockholm)
    May 2011  Program on Predictability + School on Data Assimilation (Stockholm)
    Jul 2011  Program on Dynamo, Dynamical Systems and Topology (Stockholm)
    Oct 2012  12th European Workshop on Astrobiology (Stockholm)
    Jun 2015  Program on Origin, Evolution, and Signatures of Cosmological Magnetic Fields (Stockholm)

    $Date: 2016/01/05 14:28:11 $, $Author: brandenb $, $Revision: 1.44 $