Simons Workshop on Singularities in Fluids and Plasmas

This workshop, supported by the Simons Foundation,
has been postponed because of Covid-19 concerns.

What:   2020 Simons Workshop on Singularities in Fluids and Plasmas
When:   Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 9:00 am    to    Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 5:00 pm
Where:   Princeton Center for Theoretical Science (PCTS:  4th floor, Jadwin Hall)




Singularities in Fluids and Plasmas
Left: Volume plot of the vorticity for the Kida-Pelz initial condition: six pairs of anti-parallel vortex tubes. Right: Isosurface of the vorticity for a single tube at a late time. (taken from T. Grafke and R. Grauer, Applied Mathematics Letters 26, 500 (2013))

Finite-time singularities of the Navier-Stokes equation is a Millenium Prize problem (, and has significant consequences for theories of  vortex reconnection and fluid turbulence. The analogous problem of current singularities (whether finite-time or not) has deep implications for fast magnetic reconnection and plasma turbulence. Such current singularities, even when regularized by dissipation, have significant physical implications for problems as diverse as stellar coronal heating (Parker problem) and turbulence, neutron star mergers (including general relativistic effects), space weather, and last but not least, three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic equilibria in toroidal plasmas which play a critical role in determining optimum topologies for magnetic confinement. A recent multi-institutional research program led from Princeton University and supported by the Simons Foundation on “Hidden Symmetries and Fusion Energy” ( provides a great and timely opportunity to bring together a diverse group of computational physicists, fluid dynamicists, mathematicians, and  plasma physicists to discuss problems of common interest at this Workshop.


   (Download schedule here)

Simons Workshop on Singularities in Fluids and Plasmas

Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, March 18-20, 2020  
March 18      
8:00‑9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast    
SESSION I     Chair: A. Bhattacharjee Speaker Video Link
9:00‑9:10 Welcome and logistics A. Bhattacharjee
9:10‑9:50 A few remarks on singularities in incompressible fluids Peter Constantin
Princeton University
9:50‑10:30 Non-conservation of the dimension for passive and active scalars Jose Rodrigo
University of Warwick
10:30‑11:00 Coffee    
11:00‑11:40 On a sufficient condition for finite-time singularity in Kida-Pelz flow Chung-Sang Ng
University of Alaska-Fairbanks
11:40‑12:10 Discussion of Session I Talks    
12:10‑1:30 Lunch    
SESSION II     Chair: P. Helander Speaker Video Link
1:30‑2:10 Inverse problem for an equilibrium current sheet Robert Dewar
Australian National University
2:10‑2:50 Current singularity formation in line-tied magnetic fields Yao Zhou
2:50‑3:20 Coffee    
3:20‑4:00 Lessons learned about the existence and accessibility of three-dimensional ideal MHD equilibria Joaquim Loizu
4:00‑4:40 Machine learning from a continuous viewpoint Weinan E
Princeton University
4:40‑5:10 Discussion of Session II talks    
6:30‑9:00 Workshop Dinner: Nassau Inn    
March 19      
8:30‑9:00 Continental Breakfast    
SESSION III     Chair: R. MacKay Speaker Video Link
9:00‑9:40 Quasisymmetric solutions to forced MHD Daniel Ginsberg
9:40‑10:20 An ideal magnetic evolution contains the seed of its own destruction Allen Boozer
Columbia University
10:20‑10:40 Coffee    
10:40‑11:20 Near-singular currents and flows near magnetic islands in magnetically confined plasmas Allan Reiman
11:20‑12:00 Elimination of MHD current sheets by modifications to the plasma wall in a fixed boundary model Eugenia Kim
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
12:00‑12:30 Discussion of Session III talks    
12:30‑1:30 Lunch    
SESSION IV     Chair: P. Constantin Speaker Video Link
1:30‑2:10 Singularities in high-Reynolds number turbulence Katepalli Sreenivasan
New York University
2:10‑2:50 The power spectrum of passive scalar turbulence in the Batchelor regime Jacob Bedrossian
University of Maryland
2:50‑3:20 Coffee    
3:20‑4:00 Uniqueness of Whitham’s highest cusped wave Alberto Enciso
4:00‑4:40 Lagrangian and Dirac constraints and geodesic flow for the ideal incompressible fluid and MHD Philip Morrison
University of Texas at Austin
4:40‑5:10 Discussion on Session IV talks    
March 20      
8:30‑9:00 Continental Breakfast    
SESSION V     Chair: R. Dewar Speaker Video Link
9:00‑9:40 The Hasimoto-Madelung transform and skew-mean-curvature flow in Euler hydrodynamics Boris Khesin
University of Toronto (remotely)
Join Zoom Meeting
9:40‑10:20 Singular equilibria and meta-stability Steven Cowley
10:20‑10:40 Coffee    
10:40‑11:20 Formation of current sheets in relativistic magnetospheres of black holes and
neutron stars
Alexander Philippov
Center for Computational Astrophysics, The Flatiron Institute
11:20‑12:00 Near-singular dynamics of kinetic ballooning instabilities in plasmas Ge Dong
12:00‑1:00 Lunch    
SESSION VI     Chair: A. Bhattacharjee Speaker Video Link
1:00‑1:40 On the derivation of the wave-kinetic equation in weak turbulence Pierre Germain
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
1:40‑2:20 Singularities and phase-space dynamics in wave physics and turbulence Ilya Dodin
2:20‑3:00 Shock formation in compressible fluids Vlad Vicol
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
3:00-3:40 Discussion and Adjournment