Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
20 Nov 2012
 | 20 Nov 2012

100th anniversary of the discovery of cosmic radiation: the role of Günther and Tegetmeyer in the development of the necessary instrumentation

R. G. A. Fricke and K. Schlegel

Abstract. The year 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of cosmic radiation by the Austrian physicist Victor Franz Hess (1883–1964), obtained onboard manned balloons, one of them launched up to an altitude of 5.3 km. His discovery earned him the Nobel Prize in 1936. The discovery follows in the context of the investigation of atmospheric electricity and of the newly discovered radioactivity, in particular with respect to γ rays. Starting from simple ionization chambers, the instruments were developed during an interplay between functional requirements, scientific progress and available manufacturing technologies.

The authors of this contribution take this anniversary as an opportunity to describe the instrumentation used by Hess, as well as further developments in the instrumentation which took place in the decades following Hess' discovery. This manuscript also discusses details of the company who manufactured Hess' instrument, ''Günther & Tegetmeyer'' based in Braunschweig, Germany. This company did not only build instruments for Hess and the research on cosmic rays, but also for other scientific disciplines and for well-known researchers and discoverers.