The APS Council approved the establishment of a new topical group on plasma astrophysics at its November 1998 meeting. Its stated principal objective is "the advancement and diffusion of plasma astrophysics - an inter-disciplinary body of knowledge that seeks common ground between plasma physics and astrophysics, and involves the application of fundamental concepts of plasma physics to the solution of outstanding problems in astrophysics."
According to Amitava Bhattacharjee of the University of Iowa, who helped spearhead the effort, the new unit has its roots in the Plasma Astrophysics Working Group of the APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP). The working group has grown steadily in size since it was established, and has sponsored several popular evening symposia on plasma astrophysics at DPP meetings in recent years, featuring well-known plasma and astro-physicists seeking common ground by sharing their knowledge of observations, theory and simulation. Bhattacharjee and his colleagues hope that the formation of the topical group will lead to the genuine sharing of knowledge based in fundamental plasma physics and make it easier for plasma astrophysics to become an integral and visible presence at APS meetings.
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