, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 183-201
Date: 29 Aug 2011

The 1953 Cosmic Ray Conference at Bagnères de Bigorre: the Birth of Sub Atomic Physics

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The cosmic ray conference at Bagnères de Bigorre in July, 1953 organized by Patrick Blackett and Louis Leprince-Ringuet was a seminal one. It marked the beginning of sub atomic physics and its shift from cosmic ray research to research at the new high energy accelerators. The knowledge of the heavy unstable particles found in the cosmic rays was essentially correct in fact and interpretation and defined the experiments that needed to be carried out with the new accelerators. A large fraction of the physicists who had been using cosmic rays for their research moved to the accelerators. This conference can be placed in importance in the same category as two other famous conferences, the Solvay congress of 1927 and the Shelter Island Conference of 1948.