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Suggested Citation:"FINDINGS." National Research Council. 1995. Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4936.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 Executive Summary Plasma science is the study of the ionized states of matter. Most of the observable matter in the universe is in the plasma state. Plasma science includes plasma physics but aims to describe a much wider class of phenomena in which, for example, atomic and molecular excitation and ionization processes and chemical reactions can play significant roles. The intellectual challenge in plasma science is to develop principles for understanding the complex macroscopic behavior of plasmas, given the known principles that govern their microscopic behavior. Plasmas of interest range over tens of orders of magnitude in density and temperature—from the tenuous plasmas of interstellar space to the ultradense plasmas created in inertial confinement fusion, and from the cool, chemical plasmas used in the plasma processing of semiconductors to the thermonuclear plasmas created in magnetic confinement fusion devices. A healthy plasma science enterprise can be expected to make many important contributions to our society for the foreseeable future. The purpose of this report is to provide guidance regarding the ways in which plasma science can contribute to society and to recommend actions that will optimize these contributions. FINDINGS 1. Plasma science impacts daily life in many significant ways. It plays an important role in plasma processing, the sterilization of medical products, lighting, and lasers. Plasma science is central to the development of fusion as an

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Plasma science is the study of ionized states of matter. This book discusses the field's potential contributions to society and recommends actions that would optimize those contributions. It includes an assessment of the field's scientific and technological status as well as a discussion of broad themes such as fundamental plasma experiments, theoretical and computational plasma research, and plasma science education.

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