American Physical Society Conference


Plasma science and its many applications make significant contributions to society and to the quality of our lives. But this exciting and rapidly progressing field of science is little understood or appreciated by the general public, including the media, the education community and policy-makers.

As a result, progress in education, support for basic research, and the pace of technological innovations stemming from plasma science all suffer.

To remedy this situation, a group of individuals and organizations with an interest in plasma science research and applications joined together to form the Coalition.

The mission of CPS is to increase public awareness and understanding of plasma science and its many applications and benefits for society.


The goals and objectives of CPS are to:

  • Unite the plasma science research community behind a common message about the value and importance of its research, and share that message via publications, presentations and special events;
  • Promote a strategy of educational out-reach aimed at the K-12 level;
  • Broaden support for ongoing plasma science research and educational efforts within the scientific community, at colleges and universities, at the national laboratories and in the business and industrial communities;
  • Maintain a web site that provides information about plasmas and has appropriate references and links to show the wonder, utility and diversity of plasmas.


Use this form to join CPS and/or sign up for our newsletter. A member of the Coalition for Plasma Science Steering Committee will be in touch with you regarding prospective membership for your organization. Please email egk0033 [at] auburn.edu and orlov [at] fusion.gat.com if you run into any issues with the form or other questions.


Meetings of the Coalition are typically held the third Thursday of the month. Participation in the Coalition is accomplished by conference call - a virtual meeting. All are welcome to attend.


Current CPS officers (as of July 2022):

  • Chair: Evdokiya Kostadinova, Auburn University 
  • Vice-Chair: Dmitri Orlov, UCSD 
  • Treasurer: Steve Dean, Fusion Power Associates 
  • Secretary: Matthew Moynihan, New Light Fusion Consultants
  • Paul Rivenberg, MIT 

Members At-Large:

  • Arturo Dominguez, PPPL 
  • Elizabeth Sterling, GA
  • Mark Kushner, UM Ann Arbor
  • Richard Temkin, MIT
  • Matthew Moynihan, New Light Fusion Consultants 
  • Saikat Chakraborty Thakur, Auburn University


The Coalition for Plasma Science has initiated and carried out a number of events and activities directed toward its goal of increasing public awareness and understanding of plasma science and its many applications and benefits for society.

Below is a brief list of some of those efforts, some completed as well as some underway or planned. The audience for these activities and events includes the media, the education community and government policy makers. Our goal is to represent a broad range of plasma science interests and to have a significant impact on the public and congressional awareness of plasma science.

APS DPP 2021 Recording

The Coalition for Plasma Science (CPS) held a panel discussion "Frontiers in Interdisciplinary Plasma Science and Engineering" at the APS DPP conference on Tuesday, Nov 9, 2021. The panelists were:
* Mark Kushner, UM Ann Arbor
* Serena Dalena, PRL editor
* Vyacheslav (Slava) Lukin, NSF
* Sean Finnegan, LANL

The goal of the panel was to highlight emerging opportunities for interdisciplinary research at the intersection of plasma physics and other STEM fields. We discussed strategies for recommendations from the Plasma 2020 decadal survey, strategies for publishing interdisciplinary work, funding opportunities and more.

APS GEC 2021 Recording

This year Coalition for Plasma Science (CPS) organized a panel discussion at the American Physical Society Gaseous Electronics Conference (APS GEC) - "Career Opportunities for Undergraduate Students" about cutting-edge research in the fields of aerospace plasmas, plasma agriculture, plasma-liquid interactions, and much more.

List of speakers:

    1. Edward Thomas, Jr. - College of Science and Math (COSAM) Interim Dean and Physics Department professor at Auburn University

    2. Arturo Dominguez - Science Education Senior Program Leader at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

    3. Shahid Rauf - Managing Director, Plasma Technology at Applied Materials


A Teacher's Guide to Plasma Science Resources

The CPS Education Web Site features a comprehensive list of plasma education web sites, each rated against national science standards, that can help K-12 teachers integrate a study of plasmas into their curricula. Students will enjoy it as well!

Science Teachers Day And Plasma Sciences Expo Co-sponsor

CPS and its members annually participate in the American Physical Society - Division of Plasma Physics Science Teachers Day and Plasma Sciences Expo - for middle and high school teachers and their students. The free teacher training workshops typically support about 100+ participants, while the Expo, filled with hands-on demonsration of plasma-related physics, attracts 1000 - 2500 students. The most recent events can be found here.

CPS Plasma Page

This semiannual newsletter reports about recent and future CPS activities, with occasional features about specific plasma science and applications. The complete archive can be found under CPS News.

Capitol Hill Educational Presentations

CPS presents educational talks to governmental representatives and their staffs to help them understand the every day presence of plasmas in their lives, and the possibilities this state-of-matter holds for the future.

About Plasmas

These two-page introductions to various types of plasmas and applications are written for nontechnical audiences. Completed topics in this series can be found on the CPS Publications page

INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair Prize

Beginning in 2005 CPS established a presence at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair, sponsoring a $1000 Plasma Science Prize for the best plasma-related project. The prize has since increased to $1500. For a report on this year's Intel Fair please see the latest CPS Plasma Page.

Review of K-12 and College Text Books


The Coalition conducted an informal study to determine the extent to which plasmas are being introduced in K-undergraduate level text books. Many of the newer high school books do contain limited discussions of plasma. However, the National Science Education Standards, the current national curriculum standards of the National Research Council (issued in 1996), do not mention plasmas. Most college textbooks, especially the newer ones, contained good discussions of plasmas. A letter was written to the National Research Council recommending that future revisions of the standards include plasma as a fourth state of matter.

"Communicating With Nonscientists: Kids, Congressmen and Other Important People in Your Life" - Conference Session IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, New Orleans 

June 2000

The Coalition organized this special plenary session featuring Prof. David Newman, who stressed the importance of communicating about plasma science to nontechnical audiences, offered ways to do it effectively, and presented dramatic demonstrations that could be used by others. He was joined by a panel of three local K-12 teachers.

"Communicating with Nonscientists and the Media" Panel Session - IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, Monterey, California

June 1999

The Coalition sponsored and organized this special panel session to help attending scientists and engineers understand the importance of communicating about plasmas outside the technical community, and how to improve that communication. The panelists represented television, newspapers, magazines and government.

Capitol Hill Reception and Exhibit, Rayburn House Office Bldg

June 1998

This reception and interactive exhibit for Members of Congress, their staffs, and government agency representatives, examined plasmas and their many scientific, commercial and practical applications. The event featured demonstrations, posters, hands-on exhibits and both model and operating plasma devices.


"Plasmas: Science and Technology for the 21st Century" Capitol Hill Exhibit Rotunda, Cannon House Office Building

April 1997

During a week in April 1997, CPS and some of its members contributed help and materials for this plasma community exhibit, which highlighted the breadth and significance of plasmas, ranging from their presence in nature to familiar applications in everyday life, and which pointed out plasma-based technologies being developed for the future.