The discovery of cosmic rays, a milestone in science, comprised of scientists in Europe and North America and took place during a period characterised by nationalism and lack of communication. Many scientists that took part in this research a century ago were intrigued by the penetrating radiation and tried to understand the origin of it. Several important contributions to the discovery of the origin of cosmic rays have been forgotten in particular that of Domenico Pacini, who in June 1911 demonstrated by studying the decrease of radioactivity with an electroscope immersed in water that cosmic rays could not come from the crust of the Earth. Several historical, political and personal facts might have contributed to the substantial disappearance of Pacini from the history of science.
European Physical Journal H
- Pub Date:
- April 2010
- Physics - History and Philosophy of Physics;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- To be published in European Physical Journal H - Version revised after interaction with the editor and the referees