- Conference date: 26–28 June 2012
- Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Twenty years after the discovery of cosmic rays, the methods of research and resulting discoveries were dramatically changed by the introduction of experimental methods that made visible the passage of individual particles. Between 1932 and 1955, tracks of cosmic rays were found in cloud chambers and special photographic emulsions. From measurements of the ionization produced along these tracks, the mass, charge and energy of a single relativistic particle could be determined. The dynamics of decays and collisions could be analyzed. Positrons and then electron-positron pairs were discovered, followed by muons and pions and then the inhabitants of the 'particle zoo'. Fundamental concepts were challenged. From the mid- 1950s, larger accelerators began to produce many of the 'new' particles, displacing cosmic rays from their prime role in particle studies. But without the initial discoveries in cosmic rays, there might well not be the modern industrial-scale particle physics research.
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