4:00 pm MCP 201
The Highest-Energy Cosmic Rays – present status and future prospect
Alan Watson, School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
The highest-energy cosmic rays, which have energies up to and beyond 1020 eV, are studied using the phenomenon of ‘extensive air showers’. The University of Chicago has been prominent in this field almost since its inception, first through the work of Pierre Auger and Marcel Schein in the early 1940s, and more recently because of involvement in CASA, the Pierre Auger Observatory and POEMMA. After a brief historical introduction, I will describe the techniques currently used and discuss measurements derived using data from the Pierre Auger Observatory. These have set new standards to aid our understanding of the origin of the highest energy cosmic rays. We are now, at last, tantalisingly close to pinning down where these fascinating particles are created. Future plans for the Auger Observatory and for a space project, in both of which scientists from the Enrico Fermi Institute have important roles, will be briefly described.