Ever since its invention, the laser has become an increasingly important tool for physics research. Indeed, the laser has made it possible to not only study many extant physical phenomena, but also to actually produce matter in conditions that don't exist in nature, or more precisely, don't exist on the earth. In this lecture, I discuss how the development of lasers that produce ultra-short (∼fsec) and ultra-intense (≥1020 W/cm2) laser pulses actually produce plasmas that are at a density and temperature that exist only in stars. In doing so I discuss some of the basics of these extreme pulses interacting with electrons, yielding surprisingly intriguing physical phenomena. Finally, I argue that this field is an essential element in any comprehensive physical research endeavor, explicitly citing its fundamental relationship with the development of clean, unlimited fusion energy power.
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