Plasma has been called magic, it’s been called the fourth state of matter, well, come to think of it, it’s been called a lot of things hasn’t it. As our scientists progress and as humans travel to destination locations off planet, the study of plasma will continue to be an important part of the understanding we’ll need. Consider if you will the importance Plasma Physics and this Forth State of Matter, and why our future scientist will need to be well-versed in the subject.
WikiPedia explains plasma in this way; “In physics and chemistry, plasma is a state of matter similar to gas in which a certain portion of the particles are ionized. The basic premise is that heating a gas dissociates its molecular bonds, rendering it into its constituent atoms. Further heating leads to inonization (a loss or gain of electrons), turning it into a plasma: containing charged particles, positive ions and negative electrons,” and I’d say that sums it up very nicely.
But that’s not the half of it, because consider all the potential applications and uses, not only for space flight, propulsion, power generation, etc, and so on, but also to our understanding of matter in general, along with the universe we reside. If this topic interests you as much as it blows my mind, perhaps, I’d like to recommend a very good book to you. One I own and totally believe is the “best” book on the topic, I’ve ever seen. The name of the book is:
“Principles of Plasma Physics for Engineers and Scientists” by Umran S. Inan (Stanford University) and Marek Golkowski (University of Colorado, Denver), Cambridge Press, (2011), 284 pages, ISBN: 978-0-521-19372-6.
Yes, this book is fairly expensive, and probably not for the average Joe with curiosity of such things, the book I have here is a hard bound work and it cost $100. Still, it’s well worth it. The book describes Single Particle Motions, Kinetic Theory of Plasmas, Multiple Fluid Theory, Collisions and Plasma Conductivity Introduction of Waves into Plasma, and Plasma Diffusion amongst many other things, especially interesting to me was all the information behind the effects of ionization, waves, magnetization, and temperature on Plasma.
The appendix is excellent and that alone is worth the price as a solid reference to have around. If someone was teaching a class on plasma physics, this might be the best textbook around, not to mention a perfect reference book to have handy, which is what I use it for. Indeed, if you are an engineer, scientist, grad student, researcher, or want to be, then you need this book too. Please consider all this and think on it.