To appear in the proceedings of "From Planets to Dark Energy: the Modern Radio Universe", eds. R. Beswick et al., published by PoS

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Kandaswamy Subramanian

Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Post Bag 4, Ganeshkhind, Pune-411007, India.

Abstract. The origin of cosmic magnetism is an issue of fundamental importance in astrophysics. We review here some of the ideas of how large scale magnetic fields in the universe, particularly in galaxies and galaxy clusters could arise. The popular paradigm involves the generation of a seed magnetic field followed by turbulent dynamo amplification of the seed field. We first outline various seed field generation mechanisms including Biermann batteries. These in general give a field much smaller than the observed field and so they require further amplification by dynamo action. The basic idea behind fluctuation dynamos, as applied to cluster magnetism and the mean-field helical dynamo as applied to disk galaxies, are outlined. Major difficulties with the dynamo paradigm are considered. It is particularly important to understand the nonlinear saturation of dynamos, and whether the fields produced are coherent enough on large-scales to explain the observed fields in galaxies and clusters. At the same time the alternative possibility of a primordial field lacks firm theoretical support but can have very interesting observational consequences.

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