University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
Luke Blossom Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University
Professor of Physics at Stanford University and at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
From keV electrons in terrestrial aurorae to Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays in unidentified "Zevatrons", the cosmos has a strongly plutocratic tendency to concentrate energy in a tiny minority of suprathermal particles. The mechanisms involved can be traced back to the ideas of Faraday, Alfvén and Fermi and, although the details are idiosyncratic to the many sites that we have observed and studied, much can be learned from comparing and contrasting particle acceleration in these locations as well as computationally and experimentally. It will be argued that new mechanisms are required to account for recent observations of galactic nuclei, pulsar wind nebulae and gamma ray bursts and some possibilities will be discussed.