The search for the sources of cosmic rays is a three-fold assault, using charged cosmic rays, gamma rays and neutrinos. The first conceptual ideas to detect high energy neutrinos date back to the late fifties. The long evolution towards detectors with a realistic discovery potential started in the seventies and eighties, with the pioneering works in the Pacific Ocean close to Hawaii and in Lake Baikal in Siberia. But only now, half a century after the first concepts, such a detector is in operation: IceCube at the South Pole. We do not yet know whether with IceCube we will indeed detect extraterrestrial high energy neutrinos or whether this will remain the privilege of next generation telescopes. But whatever the answer will be: the path to the present detectors was a remarkable journey. This review sketches its main milestones.
European Physical Journal H
- Pub Date:
- August 2012
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Physics - History and Philosophy of Physics
- 52 pages, 24 figures. Historical review published in European Physics Journal H. The final publication is available at http://www.epj.org