National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"RECOMMENDATIONS." National Research Council. 1995. Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4936.
Suggested Citation:"RECOMMENDATIONS." 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 3 ma experiments. With regard to theory and modeling, although the current programs have been successful, there is a need for individual- investigator-led research on questions fundamental to basic plasma science. 5. Coordination of research efforts is vital, to make the most effective use of resources by maintaining complementary programs and to ensure that all critical problems are addressed. 6. Because of the commonality underlying all areas of plasma science, renewed emphasis on basic plasma science will benefit all areas. Therefore, it is appropriate that redistribution of funding to support basic plasma science come from all areas of plasma science. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. To reinvigorate basic plasma science in the most efficient and cost- effective way, emphasis should be placed on university-scale research programs. 2. To ensure the continued availability of the basic knowledge that is needed for the development of applications, the National Science Foundation should provide increased support for basic plasma science. 3. To aid the development of fusion and other energy-related programs now supported by the Department of Energy, the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, with the cooperation of the Office of Fusion Energy, should provide increased support for basic experimental plasma science. Such emphasis would leverage the Doe's present investment in plasma science and would strengthen investigations in other energy- related areas of plasma science and technology. 4. Approximately $15 million per year for university-scale experiments should be provided, and continued in future years, to effectively redress the current lack of support for fundamental plasma science, which is a central concern of this report. Furthermore, individual- investigator and small-group research, including theory and modeling as well as experiments, needs special help, and small amounts of funding could be life-saving. Funding for these activities should come from existing programs that depend on plasma science. A reassessment of the relative allocation of funds between larger, focused research programs and individual-investigator and small-group activities should be undertaken. 5. The agencies supporting plasma science should cooperate to coordinate plasma science policy and funding. 6. Members of the plasma community in industry and academe should work aggressively for tenure-track recognition of plasma science as an academic discipline, and work with university faculty and administrators to provide courses in basic plasma science at the senior undergraduate level. Additional recommendations regarding specific areas of plasma science are made in the main text of the report.


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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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