As part of the Physics 2020 decadal assessment and outlook for physics, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will conduct a study of the past progress and future promise of plasma science and technology and provide recommendations to balance the objectives of the field in a sustainable and healthy manner over the long term. Specifically, the study committee will:
- Engage stakeholders in government, the plasma sciences communities, and industry to collect perspectives on the major achievements and challenges of the past decade and the most exciting and promising areas of plasma research anticipated for the next 10 years, as well as how plasma research impacts and is impacted by adjacent areas of science and technology.
- Assess the progress and achievements of plasma science over the past decade.
- Identify and articulate the major scientific questions and new opportunities that define plasma science as a discipline, noting connections to and the influence on other disciplines.
- Discuss the nature and importance of the U.S. role in multinational plasma research activities.
- Assess the scope of international research across the breadth of plasma science and discuss the relative standing of U.S. activities.
- Discuss how plasma science has contributed and will likely contribute to U.S. national needs both in and beyond plasma science, including workforce development, economic prosperity, national defense, and other applications.
- Assess whether the present plasma science workforce and training opportunities are commensurate with future workforce needs.
- Assess and comment on the present role of, and future opportunities for, universities within large national programs organized around major research instruments or community assets (i.e., user facilities, satellites, telescopes, etc.).
- Assess whether the structure, program balance, and level of the current U.S. research effort in plasma science across the federal and private efforts are best positioned to realize the science opportunities.
The study committee’s recommendations should not alter recommendations from the Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics, the mid-decadal assessment of that report, or the ongoing study on Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. The committee may make recommendations or offer comments on organizational structure, program balance, and funding, as appropriate, with discussion of the evidentiary bases.