Progress in cosmic ray research since 1947

Peters, B. (1959) Progress in cosmic ray research since 1947 Journal of Geophysical Research, 64 (2). pp. 155-173. ISSN 0148-0227

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Cosmic ray physics, which ten years ago was a fairly specialized branch of science, has in the course of its recent development become closely linked with many other fields of research. It has become an integral part of astrophysics, radioastronomy, and solar physics; it has made important contributions to such diverse fields as geomagnetism, hydrology, and archeology, and has begun to gain some importance in the study of meteorites and of oceanography and meteorology. It has also given rise to one of the newest and most active branches of physics, 'particle physics,' and has thereby provided the impetus for designing the large and powerful particle accelerators which are now in operation or under construction in various parts of the world. This paper is a survey of the most important developments which have taken place in cosmic ray physics during the last decade. The principal technical advances which have exerted decisive influence on cosmic ray research are the development of large stratosphere balloons, of nuclear emulsions, and of radio telescopes, as well as the great progress made since the war in radio chemistry and in low level beta- and gamma-ray counting. The three sections following the introduction discuss how, with the help of these and other techniques, the nature of the primary cosmic ray particles was determined and how a connection was established between cosmic ray effects and astrophysical and solar phenomena. The next section deals with largely successful efforts which have been made to understand the complicated chain of processes by which the energy carried by primary cosmic ray particles entering from outer space is first distributed over a great variety of new stable and unstable particles and finally is dissipated within the atmosphere. The two following sections treat the discovery of stable and radioactive isotopes which are produced during the passage of cosmic radiation through the atmosphere and contain a short review of the application which these isotopes have found in other branches of science. The last section contains a brief discussion of still unsolved problems which have now become accessible because of more recent technical advances such as satellites, permanent polar stations, and synoptic cosmic ray observations during the International Geophysical Year.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Geophysical Union.
ID Code:75884
Deposited On:28 Dec 2011 11:50
Last Modified:28 Dec 2011 11:50

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