Monday, May 10, 2010

Auger North Coming to Kansas?

The Auger Observatory collaboration has successfully produced amazing and important results from just the detectors set up in the pampas of Argentina. But there is still the missing piece of the project to look at the sky in the northern hemisphere which the Auger "South" is blind to. The original idea was to build the same network of water tanks and detectors in Colorado. But now, it appears that it may spill over into the flat lands of Kansas.

James Watson Cronin, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, talked to state legislators on April 28 about installing cosmic ray sensors in a water tank array stretching across thousands of square miles of the cornfields and cow pastures of Colorado and Kansas.

This is not pie in sky. Cronin and colleagues already have talked 16 countries into spending more than $50 million to build the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina. Now he wants Auger North, at $127 million.

However, there could be a small glitch, and this is related to the post I made earlier relating to the possibility that Wichita State University might close down its physics program.

The state and its universities also would need to designate a university with an endowed scholar for the project. Morris said he'd prefer WSU, but there's already a glitch — WSU is talking about getting rid of its physics department, combining it with engineering.

"I hope they don't do that," Morris said. "We'd need to have a separate physics department."

Hey, there's always Kansas State and University of Kansas, no?


1 comment:

no said...

If you are talking about schools in Kansas with graduate programs in physics, you have two Ph.D. granting institutions (KU and KSU), and at least four master's granting institutions (Emporia State, Pittsburg State, Fort Hays State, Wichita State).