The IGY and beyond: a brief history of ground-based cosmic-ray detectors
Stoker, Pieter H.
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The state of art of ground-based cosmic-ray research from its discovery to present is reviewed. After discovery of cosmic rays by Hess in 1912, the nature of the primary and secondary radiation was established from recordings by a variety of instruments, sensitive to various components of cosmic rays and operated at different latitudes, longitudes and altitudes, including instruments carried by balloons. The IGY formalized international co-operation and coordinated study of cosmic rays, which is vital for meaningful interpretation of cosmic-ray data. Data collected at different geographic locations require an effective cutoff rigidity as a data ordering parameter. This parameter is obtained from tracing trajectories of primary cosmic rays in the Earth’s magnetic field. After 50 years the world’s neutron monitor network remains still the backbone for studying intensity variations of primary cosmic rays in the rigidity ranges between 1 and 15 GV, associated with transport and with transient events. Also the penetrating muon and neutrino components of secondary cosmic rays have a long history of recording and fundamental problem investigations. Valuable data about composition and spectrum of primary cosmic rays in ever increasing high-energy regions have been obtained during the years of investigations with various configurations and types of extensive air shower detectors. The culture of personal involvement of the physicist in carrying out experiments and data acquisition characterized the continued vitality of cosmic-ray investigations ranging from its atmospheric, geomagnetic and hemispheric transport through to its solar and astrophysical origins