Science: Ray Circus

The quest for the cosmic ray was a four-ring circus last week.

The main purpose of Belgian Professor Auguste Piccard's stratosphere balloon flight (see p. 32) was to record the effect of cosmic rays at high altitudes. At his ceiling of almost eleven miles the rays "were like rain on a tin roof." The professor is a mild hyperbolist. To cosmic rays the wide-spaced atoms of his aluminum gondola were less hindrance than a chicken-wire fence to bird shot.

Next year Professor Piccard hopes that some U. S. or Canadian physicist will "take off from...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!