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. This 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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