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In this solar flare, plasma is heated to tens of millions degrees Kelvin, while electrons, protons and heavier ions are accelerated to near the speed of light. Photograph courtesy of the National Energy Research Scientific Computer Center


1. BIOLOGY. The clear, colorless part of the blood in which the blood cells and platelets flow. Plasma is mostly water but also contains dissolved salts, proteins, other food nutrients, clotting materials, and other substances. Plasma can be stored for long periods by freezing or drying and is often used in blood transfusions instead of whole blood. 2. PHYSICS. A gas made up of electrically charged particles with an almost equal number of free electrons and positive ions. It forms under the high pressures and temperatures found within our sun and other stars. Most of the matter in the universe is thought to be in the form of plasma. 3. TELEVISION. A type of flat panel display used in some kinds of large screen TV’s. [Plasma is a Greek word meaning “something that is formed or molded.”]