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Plasma Science: Advancing Knowledge in the National Interest (2007)

Chapter: Appendix A: Charge to the Committee

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Charge to the Committee." National Research Council. 2007. Plasma Science: Advancing Knowledge in the National Interest. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11960.
Page 219
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Charge to the Committee." National Research Council. 2007. Plasma Science: Advancing Knowledge in the National Interest. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11960.
Page 220

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A Charge to the Committee An assessment of plasma science in the United States is proposed as part of the decadal assessment and outlook, Physics 2010. Since publication of the previ- ous decadal study of this area in 1995, the field has undergone rapid advances and significant changes—ranging from a refocused mission of the DOE fusion sci- ence program to new plasma processing technologies arriving in the commercial marketplace to significant advances in understanding how to confine plasmas. A new field called high-energy-density physics has been defined that foretells new connections between astrophysical phenomena and laboratory experiments. It is timely and important to identify the compelling science opportunities in plasma science and to frame a strategy for realizing them. Also, recommendations from the last decadal study have been implemented by the agencies and an assessment to provide feedback is now appropriate. A committee of about 15 members with broad expertise in plasma science will be convened to address the following tasks in a report that will communicate well to policy makers and scientists in other fields: 1. Assess the progress and achievements of plasma science over the past decade. 2. Identify the new opportunities and the compelling science questions for plasma science, frame the outlook for the future, and place the field in the context of physics as a whole. 3. Evaluate the opportunities and challenges for the applications of plasma science to fusion and other fields. 219

220 Plasma Science 4. Offer guidance to the government research programs and the scientific communities aimed at addressing these challenges and realizing these opportunities.

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As part of its current physics decadal survey, Physics 2010, the NRC was asked by the DOE, NSF, and NASA to carry out an assessment of and outlook for the broad field of plasma science and engineering over the next several years. The study was to focus on progress in plasma research, identify the most compelling new scientific opportunities, evaluate prospects for broader application of plasmas, and offer guidance to realize these opportunities. The study paid particular attention to these last two points. This "demand-side" perspective provided a clear look at what plasma research can do to help achieve national goals of fusion energy, economic competitiveness, and nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship. The report provides an examination of the broad themes that frame plasma research: low-temperature plasma science and engineering; plasma physics at high energy density; plasma science of magnetic fusion; space and astrophysical science; and basic plasma science. Within those themes, the report offers a bold vision for future developments in plasma science.

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