Plasma physics is essential for understanding the universe on all scales, including the largest, the realm of cosmology. Both Alfven and Lerner used plasma physics in their critiques of the popular Big Bang theory of cosmic history. It is quite possible that new discoveries in the cosmos in the future will again, as in the past, lead to new possibilities of technology.
In May, 2014, Lerner and colleagues Renato Falomo and Riccardo Scarpa published new evidence indicating that the universe is not in fact expanding. “Questions and Answers on The Science of Surface Brightness” gives more technical details on this study. Here are biographical sketches of the research team members, and background on “The Growing Case against the Big Bang Theory”.
Lerner elaborated this research in a 2018 paper published in the leading journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The new study, titled “Observations contradict galaxy size and surface brightness predictions that are based on the expanding universe hypothesis”, finds that none of the published expanding-universe predictions of galaxy-size growth fit the actual data. All of the proposed physical mechanisms for galaxy growth, such as galaxy mergers, also contradict observations. However, the paper finds that the data are closely fit by the contrary hypothesis that the universe is not expanding, and that the redshift of light is caused by some other, currently unknown, process.