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Town Hall on the Breadth and Unification of the Field of Plasma Science

By Michael R Brown posted 10-08-2020 10:08


I would like to extend a personal invitation to the Plasma Science community to participate in an important Town Hall at the all-remote 62nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, November 9-13, 2020.  This discussion will occur during the normal time of our Wednesday evening reception and banquet (6-8 PM CST, November 11, 2020).  This event will complement other events throughout the week including a Town Hall specifically the for Plasma 2020 Decadal Study.  The panel will include representatives of funding agencies, as well as representatives of plasma science community groups and recent community activities. 

Our vision for this event is to display the breadth of the field of plasma science, and perhaps a vision for the unification of the field.  It should be an optimistic, forward-thinking view of plasma science.  The target audience will be our early career scientists, graduate, and undergraduate students.  I would like to ask the community to provide questions for our panelists.  The questions you should consider include: What constitutes plasma science and technology?  Where is plasma science studied, and who funds it?  What are the most profound questions facing plasma science today?  What are the important tools and technologies that cut across the sub-fields of plasma science?

The focus of the discussion will be plasma science.  So panelists will think about what role plasma science plays in fundamental physics, fusion, space physics, astrophysics, national defense.  What careers might young scientists pursue in the area they represent?  The format for the Town Hall be a Q&A.  I'll moderate with some initial set up questions, then field questions from the community.  I would like to gather some of these ahead of the event.  Since this would be around dinner time, all participants should get a drink and something eat while attending remotely from home.


Funding agency representatives

Slava Lukin (NSF/Physics)
Jim van Dam (DOE/Fusion Energy Sciences)
Njema Frazier (DOE/NNSA)
Nicola Fox (NASA/ Heliophysics)
Carrie Black (NSF/Astronomical Sciences)
Ali Sayir (AFOSR) 

Plasma Science community leaders

Gary Zank (UAH)
Troy Carter (UCLA)
Scott Baalrud (Iowa)
Carolyn Kuranz (Michigan)
John Sarff (Wisconsin)
Pierre Gourdain (Rochester)

This year there will be a special emphasis on space and astrophysical plasmas, low temperature plasmas, computational plasma physics, high energy density plasmas, and beams.  Of course, this is in addition to the usual large presence of fusion energy science.

There are several highlights about the meeting I can share ahead of time.  Maxwell Prize winner Warren Mori (UCLA) will be giving a review of computational plasma physics.  Peter Bruggeman (Minnesota) will give a review in the exciting area of cold, industrial plasmas.  Hye-Sook Park (LLNL) will be giving a tutorial on high-energy density plasma effects on materials.  John Palastro (LLE) will be giving a review talk on laser wake-field acceleration of beams.  On the space and astrophysical plasma side, Kelly Korreck (Michigan) is giving the opening review talk Monday morning on recent results from Parker Solar Probe, followed by an entire PSP session.  Sarah A. Jaeggli (NSO) will be giving an invited talk on first results from the Daniel K. Inoue Solar Telescope (see link below, this is the official DPP 2020 image).  Katie Bauman (Caltech) will be giving an invited talk on the discovery of the super-hot plasma shadow around the black hole at the center of M87 using the Event Horizon Telescope. 

I hope you will join us in November, Mike Brown APS DPP Program Chair