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Two Centenaries - the Wilson Cloud Chamber and the Discovery of Cosmic Rays”

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In 1912, CTR Wilson perfected his cloud chamber and Victor Hess discovered the cosmic radiation. The cloud chamber enabled the paths of energetic particles to be imaged for the first time and was at the heart of many subsequent discoveries in particle physics. The extraordinary story of Wilson’s brilliant experiments and the subsequent use of the cloud chamber will be described. Wilson was involved in various aspects of the discovery of the cosmic radiation. The dangerous balloon experiments by Hess and Kolhorster, which resulted in the discovery of cosmic rays, will be described and the story brought right up to date with the most recent results from the International Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. The physics of the numerous problems posed by these observations will be reviewed.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Physical Society series.

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