Cosmic Rays

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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss cosmic rays. In 1912 the physicist Victor Hess discovered that the Earth is under constant bombardment from radiation coming from outside our atmosphere. These so-called cosmic rays have been known to cause damage to satellites and electronic devices on Earth, but most are absorbed by our atmosphere. The study of cosmic rays and their effects has led to major breakthroughs in particle physics. But today physicists are still trying to establish where these highly energetic subatomic particles come from.


Carolin Crawford
Gresham Professor of Astronomy and a member of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge

Alan Watson
Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds

Tim Greenshaw
Professor of Physics at the University of Liverpool.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 16 May 2013 21:30


Carolin Crawford at the University of Cambridge


Alan Watson at the University of Leeds


Tim Greenshaw at the University of Liverpool


Pierre Auger Observatory


Cosmic rays - Wikipedia





Roger Clay, Cosmic Bullets: High Energy Particles in Astrophysics (Basic Books, 1999)


F. Close, M. Marten and C. Sutton, The Particle Odyssey: A Journey to the Heart of Matter (Oxford University Press, 2002)


Brigitte Falkenburg and Wolfgang Rhode (ed.), From Ultra Rays to Astroparticles: A Historical Introduction to Astroparticle Physics (Springer, 2012)


Ian Sample, Massive: The Higgs Boson and the Greatest Hunt in Science (Virgin Books, 2013)



Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
ProducerThomas Morris
Interviewed GuestCarolin Crawford
Interviewed GuestAlan Watson
Interviewed GuestTim Greenshaw

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