Sci-Fi Storm

James A. Van Allen, discoverer of radiation belts, dies at 91

by on Aug.11, 2006, under General News

James A. Van Allen, the physicist who lent his names to the belts of radiation that surround the Earth, passed away yesterday at the age of 91. He helped design the instruments that were on the first american satellite, Explorer 1, which discovered the intense radiation belts caused by energetic particles trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field. These would later trouble scientists wondering if man could survive space, and provided fodder for many SF stories…notable the original movie Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, where the belts catch fire and threaten to scorch the Earth…

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