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The Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter balloon experiment collaboration showed an unexpected surplus of cosmic ray electrons at a very high energy. These results were featured in the Nov. 20 issue of Nature.

LSU Ranks in American Institute of Physics' Top 10 Stories of 2008

Jim Matthews, John Wefel and T. Gregory Guzik recognized in list of year’s top physics discoveries

In recognition of their impressive contributions to the field of physics, the work of LSU researchers Jim Matthews, John Wefel and T. Gregory Guzik was counted among the American Institute of Physics’, or AIP’s, list of the Top 10 Physics Discoveries of 2008.

The three LSU professors were included for their work with cosmic rays. Matthews collaborates with the prestigious Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, which observed a decrease of cosmic rays at the very highest energies, clearing up the mystery associated with previous observations suggesting an excess of such events.

Wefel and Guzik work with the Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter, or ATIC, balloon experiment collaboration, led by the LSU Department of Physics and Astronomy. In 2008, ATIC data revealed a mysterious source of high-energy cosmic ray electrons that had never before been detected and could not be explained by the standard model of cosmic ray origin.

A group of LSU researchers were counted among the American Institute of Physics’ Top 10 stories of 2008 after their ATIC experiment in Antarctica.

“The Auger collaboration was delighted to be cited by AIP,” said Matthews. “ATIC as well,” agreed Wefel, “but this citation really speaks to the high caliber of research being conducted here at LSU.”

Selections were made by editors and science writers at the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society. The 10 topic areas are listed (in no particular order):

  • Superconductors,
  • The Large Hadron Collider,
  • Extra-solar Planets,
  • Quarks,
  • Farthest seeable object in the universe,
  • Ultra-cold molecules,
  • Diamond detectors,
  • Cosmic rays,
  • Light passing through opaque matter and
  • Macroscopic feedback cooling.

The AIP is a not-for-profit corporation chartered in 1931 to provide publishing and distribution services for scientific and technical societies. AIP is the publisher or co-publisher of 11 journals, two magazines and the AIP Conference Proceedings series, many of which have the highest impact factors in their category. AIP’s online publishing platform, Scitation, currently hosts more than 1,000,000 articles from more than 170 scholarly publications of more than 25 scholarly publishers.

Ashley Berthelot | Writer | Office of Communications & University Relations
February 2009