Plasma physics on the table

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Sandra Porter

I don't remember learning about plasma when I took physics, but it's amazing stuff. Last week at the Hi-Tec conference in Arizona, I got to learn how an electromagnetic field can be used to push plasma around a tube. Community college students get to play with the coolest toys!

Here's some plasma contained in a small area.

i-650b71bb8d037ac35b328d7ac3cd1487-plasma_contained.jpg

Figure 1. Plasma on the table.


Here's some plasma getting pushed around a tube.

i-0ac47578cee9c155807068bf0315722a-plasma_forced.jpg

Figure 2. Plasma getting pushed around.


Wikipedia has a very nice article on plasma and plasma displays that occur in nature, such as St. Elmo's fire.  I guess if you want hands-on practice with plasma physics, community colleges are da place to go.

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