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Important step towards understanding cosmic rays


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Cosmic rays are mostly protons (hydrogen nuclei) which have somehow been accelerated to big energies, some as high as one joule.


A joule is the thump released when you drop a (one kilo) textbook ten centimeters onto the table. That is a big thump for such a little particle to deliver. It has been an extreme mystery what has been accelerating all these protons that are constantly arriving to our atmosphere from space with these incredibly high energies.


It was thought that there weren't enough supernova explosions in our galaxy often enough to account for this big flux of accelerated particles.


Finally a light at the end of the tunnel. These people have got a handle on the problem. They actually observed a supernova remnant expanding shock-wave and were able to determine that the shockwave is more efficent (accelerates more to higher) than the previous mathematical model led us to expect. I think it's an example of good science.


They published in Science magazine which is possessive so we only have secondhand. They kept their preprint off the arxiv so we can't get the original article. That's how the prestigeous Science mag makes a buck. OK.

So there are the secondhand reports.


Eveline Helder is a female, which is always a kick to my atavistic brain. Attractive female scientists who lead world-class research are my pin-ups. So?

Here's her picture:



Oh oh! She is based at Utrecht. The same place where Gerald 't Hooft got Renate Loll to locate. Loll is a world class quantum gravitist who gets quantum universes to happen in the Utrecht computer. Those dutch! Two reasons to go to Utrecht.

Edited by Martin
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