The National Academies decadal assessment of plasma science released last month describes funding and workforce instabilities that threaten the status of the U.S. as a world leader in the field. It recommends that federal science agencies increase their coordination, invest in university programs to maintain a “critical mass” of plasma science faculty, and support a broad range of research facilities.

Reflecting the broad reach of plasma science, the 18 month study was jointly sponsored by the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The study committee was chaired by Mark Kushner, a professor in the electrical engineering and computer science department at the University of Michigan, and Gary Zank, director of the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research at the University of Alabama.


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