Achievers: Pioneering In Space

Decades after his discovery of Earth's radiation belts, James Van Allen is still hard at work

Every weekday morning, Iowa City's most famous resident steps into his 1986 Jeep Cherokee and drives two miles from his home to the University of Iowa campus. He enters Van Allen Hall, makes his way to his cluttered office, checks his e-mail and begins poring over data. At 88, physicist James Van Allen still revels in exposing the secrets of nature--45 years after making the first significant discovery of the space age.

It's not that he needs any more honors. The university's physics and astronomy building already bears his name. He has been immortalized by his 1958 discovery of the Van...

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