This research project focuses on the application of the power of laser cooling and trapping techniques to a new system - ultracold neutral plasmas. This represents a completely new mode of neutral plasma confinement, and it will enable fundamental experiments on strong coupling, recombination, and cold electron-ion collisions and thermalization. Ultracold neutral plasmas are produced by photoionizing laser cooled atoms just above the ionization threshold. A significant fraction of the proposed research will thus involve characterizing the dynamics of the charged particles. Absorption imaging, a diagnostic recently demonstrated with ultracold plasmas, will make this possible. The broader impact involves education of both graduate and undergraduate students, commitments to diversity and coupling of AMO physics with plasma physics.