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Cosmic rays and epic scientific conflicts

Image courtesy of MIT Press

The early 1900s were a time of rapid-fire discoveries that changed our understanding of the universe. Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity, Neils Bohr modeled the atom, Edwin Hubble discovered that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies and Erwin Schrodinger was contemplating his cat being both alive and dead. But there was another discovery that was causing intense, and deeply personal conflicts. Cosmic rays, and the origins and meaning of these high-energy astro particles, had two American, Nobel Prize-winning physicists embroiled in a major debate, some may even say battle. Telling this riveting story of the scientific feud between physicists Robert Millikan and Arthur Compton over the nature of cosmic rays, and even the universe, is author Mark Wolverton, in his new book, “Splinters of Infinity, Cosmic Rays and the Clash of Two Nobel Prize-Winning Scientists over the Secrets of Creation.”