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The prize-winning essays during this booklet deal with the interesting yet occasionally uncomfortable dating among physics and arithmetic. Is arithmetic simply one other average technology? Or is it the results of human creativity? Does physics easily put on arithmetic like a dressing up, or is math the lifeblood of actual reality?

The nineteen wide-ranging, hugely ingenious and sometimes pleasing essays are more desirable types of the prize-winning entries to the FQXi essay pageant “Trick or Truth”, which attracted over 2 hundred submissions.

The Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, catalyzes, helps, and disseminates examine on questions on the foundations of physics and cosmology, fairly new frontiers and leading edge rules crucial to a deep figuring out of fact, yet not likely to be supported by way of traditional investment resources.

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A particular case of interest is that in which the electron temperature is much greater than that of the other particles in the plasma, in which case it is the electrons which introduce the energy into the system19 . A frequently observed situation is that in which Te > Ti ≈ Tg (called a two-temperature plasma). 10). In fact, the time between two successive electronneutral collisions for excitation or de-excitation of those levels close to the ground state is much longer than their radiative lifetime: these levels therefore populate and depopulate radiatively rather than by electron collisions, and their control by the electron kinetics is lost.

Current ion thruster motors, with their weak power, cannot be used for launchings from the Earth, but they are very effective in the spatial environment. 3 Different types of laboratory plasmas 15 acceleration on ignition. The space probe SMART-I from the European Space Agency (ESA) has travelled more than a million km, and only consumed 60 standard litres (with respect to atmospheric pressure) of xenon. 12 Further applications This brief overview of applications and studies of plasmas shows that this field of physics has already obtained some remarkable successes in many areas, including the domestic sphere, and it is equally rich in possibilities for future applications (for example fusion, sterilisation).

16 The degeneracy in energy of an atomic level is given by 2J + 1, where J is the quantum number of the total angular momentum of the level considered. 17 To obtain, on the one hand, the total density of (singly and positively charged) ions, which includes not only those in the ground state but also those of all the excited states and, on the other hand, the total density of neutral atoms, including ground state and excited states, see Appendix II. 3 Different levels of departure from complete thermodynamic equilibrium In most laboratory plasmas, the micro-reversibility of processes is not perfect, and the information then required to characterise the system increases, as the number of non-reversible processes increases18 .

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