Cosmic Rays

Despite the name, cosmic rays are high-speed particles (atomic nuclei or electrons), not part of the electromagnetic spectrum. These were the primary focus of Michael's physics research for most of his career. Not only did he produce primary research in the topic, but he sought to share information with a wide audience through articles, public lectures, and two books.

His research is encapsulated on this bibliography page (with abstracts for nearly every paper). This includes his work at the University of Bristol (UK) as well as at Washington University, especially with balloon campaigns to remote areas such as Palestine, Texas and internal parts of South Africa.

This page has articles about his work, as well as material written by him.

  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted grants for Michael's cosmic ray research throughout the 1960s (as well as other money awarded to Washington U.).
  • Gear Recovered from Big Balloon
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p8 B, 4 Aug 1958. [Click black triangle]
    1958 balloon article
    Top section of this entire newspaper page for context, with the charmingly descriptive "Detective hit with pick ax head thrown by fugitive" article.
  • In July/August 1962, Michael led a balloon campaign in Calvinia, South Africa (with a simultaneous set of launches led by Wash Univ colleagues in Minnesota). This generated lots of press coverage in his home country.
  • "Washington U. to Launch Space Balloons in Texas"
    St. Louis Post-Disptch, 25 April, 1965.
  • Summer 1965 Wash U Magazine Cosmic Rays
    Cover story article about a balloon campaign in Palestine, Texas.
  • The International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC) was and is an every-other-year scientific meeting held at various places around the world. Michael's first one was the seminal 1953 ICRC, just the third one held. Information about that conference and others is described here.
  • In 1990, Mercury magazine, the journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) published a long article by Michael which was an excerpt from his book "Cosmic Rays" (published the prior year).
  • Around 2000, Encyclopedia Britannica asked Michael to write their article about Cosmic Rays. (More complete information about Michael's writing for Britannica can be found elsewhere on this site.)
  • The centennial in 2012 of the discovery of cosmic rays (by Victor Hess in 1912) was marked by coverage in multiple places.
  • Two Books: "Cosmic Rays" (1989) and "A Thin Cosmic Rain (2000)

    Thin Cosmic Rain
    A Thin Cosmic Rain: Particles from Outer Space

    Harvard University Press, 2000.