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The Scientist: James Van Allen
James Van Allen


James Van Allen of the University of Iowa poses with a rocket model. Van Allen designed one of three science instruments on Explorer 1. The cosmic ray experiment was essentially a Geiger counter that clicked as it detected cosmic rays. This experiment and a future one led Van Allen to conclude that a doughnut-shaped radiation belt wrapped around Earth. This became known as the Van Allen radiation belt.

Image credit: Frederick W. Kent Collection, University of Iowa Archives

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