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Adam Joseph Bowman, 17, of Brentwood, entered an engineering project in the Intel Science Talent Search focused on creating highly ionized gases known as plasmas. Plasma applications range from semiconductor manufacturing to nuclear physics. Typical plasma sources are large, complicated and expensive, making them impractical for small-scale research. Three years ago, Adam constructed a table-top-size coaxial plasma gun in the family garage. Building on that experience, Adam has developed relatively simple ways to create compact and inexpensive pulsed plasma devices and a novel fiber optic technique to study how the plasma moved as the device was discharged. Adam believes his low-cost experimental systems, along with his new diagnostic technique, could extend pulsed plasma research to low-budget institutions and even high school labs. At Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Adam is president of the astronomy club and captain of the Science Olympiad team. He competes on the Quiz/ Knowledge Bowl team and helped initiate a robotics club. The son of Joe and Lori Bowman, Adam has spent more than 300 hours as a volunteer at Vanderbilt University's Dyer Observatory.
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