Universität Innsbruck

100 Years of Cosmic Particles

Joint symposium in honour of Victor F. Hess

May 1-5, 2012
Organized by The University of Innsbruck, Tyrol & The Victor F. Hess Society, Poellau, Styria


The first three days of the symposium will take place in Innsbruck, Tyrol. Highlights include a theatre performance shedding some light on the eventful life of Victor F. Hess, a public lecture by Claus Grupen, a visit to the historic Hafelekar-observatory (founded by Hess in the 30s), as well as a a series of stimulating plenary talks about the role  of cosmic rays 100 years after their discovery.

The remaining two days are to be enjoyed in Pöllau, Styria where the programme will focus on the historical aspects concering our understand of cosmic rays. A guided tour to the Victor F. Hess Heritage Centre at Poellau Castle and to the parallel exhibition “RADIATION and Mankind” at the European Centre for the History of Physics ECHOPHYSICS is offered.

Poster 100 Years of Cosmic Particles

Events on the first three days will take place at the Kaiser-Leopold Saal, Karl-Rahner-Platz 3
(close to the historic centre of Innsbruck)

Day 1 – Tuesday, May 1

Starting at 19:00, the first evening of the symposium offers two special events:

Stage performance “Victor F. Hess – Episoden eines Forscherlebens” written and directed by Klaus Reitberger

As special opening event of the symposium a one-hour theatre play will provide insight in the eventful life and scientific struggle of Victor F. Hess. Based on historic accounts and personal letters the unique character of the much acclaimed scientist is portrayed through several key episodes of his life. From the famous balloon-flight in 1912 to the research at the Hafelekar-observatory high above Innsbruck. From receiving the Nobel prize in physics to the dramatic escape from Nazi-Germany on the eve of World War II.

Performed by a series of much-experienced actors of the Stadttheater Kufstein, written an directed by Klaus Reitberger, this project attempts to unite history, science and literature. Further perfomances in Vienna, Graz, Heidelberg and several places in Tyrol are foreseen.

Although the play is in German, a detailed English synopsis-sheet (to be handed out at the performance) will allow a wider audience to take part.

A six-minute video-trailer of the play

Public lecture “Kosmische Strahlung: Heute genauso aktuell wie vor 100 Jahren” by Prof. Claus Grupen

Day 2 – Wednesday, May 2

  • 09:00–09:15 OPENING OFFICIAL
  • 09:15–09:30 OPENING LOCAL
  • 09:30–10:00 Multi-Messenger Astrophysics I: Currents in Galactic CRs - H.Völk (Heidelberg)
  • 10:00–10:30 COFFEE BREAK
  • 10:30–11:00 Space Weather I: A Heliophysics Perspective - B. Heber (Kiel)
  • 11:00–11:30 Contemporary Particle Physics & CR - T.Stanev (Bartol)
  • 11:30–13:30 LUNCH BREAK
  • 13:30–14:00 Multi-Messenger Astrophysics II: Currents in Extragalactic CRs - K.-H.Kampert (Wuppertal)
  • 14:00–14:30 Ionizing Radiation in Med Sci & Therapy - U. Lutz (Erlangen)
  • 14:30–15:30 Multi-Messenger Astrophysics III: Currents in CR Theory - V. Dogiel (Moscow) & P.Blasi (Arcetri)
  • 15:30–16:00 COFFEE BREAK
  • 16:00–16:30 Multi-Messenger Astrophysics IV: CR-Spectrometry above Ground - J.W.Mitchell (GSFC)
  • 16:30–17:00 Space Weather II: CR & Biodiversity - D.Atri (Mumbai)
  • 17:00–17:30 Multi-Messenger Astrophysics V: CR Secondaries: Neutrino - F.Halzen (Wisconsin)

Day 3 – Thursday, May 3

  • 09:00–09:30 Space Weather III: Impact on radiation protection in aviation - M.Meier (Köln)
  • 09:30–10:00 Multi-Messenger Astrophysics VI: CR Secondaries: Gamma - W.Hofmann (Heidelberg)
  • 10:00–10:30 CRs in the 21st century - A.Wolfendale (Durham)
  • 10:30–12:30 Hafelekar Visit
  • 12:30–14:00 LUNCH BREAK
  • 14:00–14:30 Unveiling of commemorative plaque at Hess' former residence, Saggen

Day 4

The Victor F. Hess Society and the European Physical Society/History of Physics group (EPS/HoP) are pleased to invite you to the second international conference on the European History of Physics of the series: The Roots of Physics in Europe (RoPE): "100 Years of Cosmic Rays"
The conference is held under the auspices of the first European Centre for the History of Physics: Echophysics, Schloss 1, Poellau Castle, 8225 Poellau, Austria, May 4-5, 2012

Symposium Programme

Friday morning session, May 4, 2012

Chair of the session: Peter Maria Schuster (Victor F. Hess Society and Echophysics; Poellau)

  • 09:00–10:00 The strange discovery of Viktor Hess - one hundred years of cosmic ray studies - Luke Drury (Dublin)
  • 10:00–10:30 The Nobel Prize to Victor Franz Hess 1936: A second look - Karl Grandin (Stockholm)
  • 10:30–11:00 Half-century studies of cosmic rays in Lodz - Janusz Kempa (Warsaw)
  • 11:00–11:30 COFFEE BREAK
  • 11:30–12:00 Russian contribution in 100 years of  history of cosmic ray study - Mikhail Panasyuk (Moscow)
  • 12:00–12:30 The atmospheric ionization caused by cosmic rays, specifically for the altitudes of Hess's balloon flights - Ilya Usoskin (Oulu)
  • 12:30–13:00 The first cosmic ray observations on Austrian mountains - Siegfried Bauer (Graz)
  • 13:00–14:30 LUNCH BREAK

Friday afternoon, May 4, 2012, subdivides into the conference session (14:30-17:30) and a festive programme for the conference participants (from 17.30 onwards)

Friday afternoon session, May 4, 2012

Chair of the session: Weaire, Denis (Dublin)

  • 14:30–15:00 Werner Kolhörster (1887-1945): The pioneer of cosmic ray research in Germany - Dieter Hofmann (Berlin)
  • 15:00–15:30 Professor Elisabeth Kara-Michailova - Ganka Kamisheva(Sofia)
  • 15:30–16:00 From atmospheric electricity to cosmic rays: A. Gockel's pioneering investigations - Jan Lacki (Geneva)
  • 16:00–16:30 COFFEE BREAK
  • 16:30–17:00 Cosmic rays and early physical cosmology - Helge Kragh (Aarhus)
  • 17:00–17:30 British contributions to early cosmic ray research - Sir Arnold Wolfendale (Durham)

Festive Friday afternoon programme for the participants of the conference 

  • 17:30–18:30 Visit of the speakers together with the Austrian Federal Minister for Science and Research Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Töchterle to the Victor F. Hess Heritage and Research Centre and to the exhibition Radiation and Mankind at Echophysics at Poellau Castle
  • 18:30 Musical intermezzi: Brass wind quartet of Poellau
    Welcome addresses:
    Emeritus Prof. Dr. Hartmut Kahlert, Retired Rector of the Graz University of Technology, Vicepresident of the Victor F. Hess Society
    Johann Schirnhofer, Mayor of Poellau
    Introductory address:
    Dr. Peter Maria Schuster, President of the Victor F. Hess Society, Director of Echophysics
    Celebratory address:
    Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Töchterle,  Austrian Federal Minister for Science and Research
    Conferring of the Extraordinary Certificates of Honour of the V. F. Hess Society
    Plenary lecture at the Großer Freskensaal at Schloss Poellau
    Possibilities and restrictions of global energy systems - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Friedrich Wagner (Director Max-Planck-Institut for Plasmaphysics)
    (Introduction of the speaker by Prof. Heinz Krenn, University of Graz, Vicepresident of the Victor F. Hess Society)

Friday evening, May 4, 2012, 20:00 h 

Dinner party at Berggasthof König, Poellauberg (Shuttle coach)

Day 5

Symposium Programme, continued

Saturday morning session, May 5, 2012

Chair of the session: Helge Kragh (Aarhus)

  • 09:00–09:30 Unsung heroines of cosmic rays (and a few heroes) - Virginia Trimble (Irvine)
  • 09:30–10:00 Mexican Contribution to Cosmic Ray Physics - Jorge. A. Pérez-Peraza  (Coyoacán)
  • 10:00–10:30 Physics and Spanish politics: Arturo Duperier's cosmic ray research as an exile in England and his relationship with Blackett (1939–1953)  - José Manuel Sánchez Ron (Real Academia Española)
  • 10:30–11:00 Cosmic-rays' role in the discovery of antiparticles: are there indications for possible existence of overlapping universe and antiuniverse? - M. Assaad Abdel-Raouf (Abu Dhabi)
  • 11:00–11:30 COFFEE BREAK
  • 11:30–12:00 Cosmic ray research with balloons - Michael Walter (DESY)
  • 12:00–12:30 Ionizing radiation—concept of risk and benefit during 100 years - Peter Holmberg (Helsinki)
  • 12:30–13:00 From radioactivity via cosmic rays to atmospheric electricity: Institute for Radium Research, Vienna - Bruno Besser (Graz)
  • 13:00–13:30 Radiocarbon, the most versatile product of cosmic rays - Walter Kutschera (Vienna)
  • 14:00–15:30 (Board meeting of the Austrian Physical Society)
  • 14:00–15:00 (2012 annual board meeting of the EPS/HoP group)

Saturday afternoon, May 5, 2012, includes another occasion, for participants only, to visit the Echophysics exhibition (15:30-17:00) and the Grand Opening programme, also for the general public (from 17:00 onwards, see below for more details).

Except for the plenary public lecture, the festive programme is held in German & English.

Saturday afternoon, May 5, 2012

  • 14:00 Sale of the special postage stamp, issued by the Österreichische Post AG to commemorate the centenary of 'Victor F. Hess' discovery of the cosmic rays, with the  commemorative postal stamp of the issue day, at the special postoffice at the Refectorium hall,  Schloss Poellau
  • 15:30–17:00 For participants only: Visit to the Victor F. Hess Heritage and Research Centre and to the exhibition Radiation and Mankind at Echophysics at Schloss Poellau (The non-German speaking participants who wish to prolonge their visit at the Echophysics exhibition are welcome to do so until ca. 19:00 h)
  • 17:00 Grand opening ceremonies at Großer Freskensaal at Schloss Poellau
    Musical intermezzo: Wood wind ensemble of the Poellau Music Classes
    Welcome address:
    Emeritus Prof. Dr. H. Kahlert, Retired Rector of the Graz University of Technology, Vicepresident of the Victor F. Hess Society
    Introductory address:
    Dr. Peter M. Schuster, President of the Victor F. Hess Society, Director of Echophysics
  • Johann Schirnhofer, Mayor of Poellau
    Prof. Dr. Helmut Denk, President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
    Univ.-Prof. Dr. Erich Gornik, President of the Austrian Physical Society
    Guests of honour
    Presentation of the special "Victor F. Hess" postage stamp issued by the Österreichische Post AG on the occasion of the jubilee centenary, given by Günter Schmied, Head of product management, Austrian Philatelie
  • 18:00 Plenary public lecture (in German): 100 Jahre Kosmische Strahlung - Eine Abenteuergeschichte mit Fortsetzung -  Erwin Flückiger (Bern)
    (Introduction of the Speaker by Prof. Heinz Krenn, University of Graz, Vicepresident f the Victor F. Hess Society)
  • ca. 19:00 A few words of explanation about : Preparing a hot-air balloon for take-off  Josef Starkbaum, world champion and most successful Austrian ballonist, Alfred Eitel, Styrian balloonist and scientist
    in front of the Poellau Cathedral
    Staging a hot-air balloon take-off
    Styrian music duo of Poellau
  • (Under adverse weather conditions the buffet will be served in the foyer space that precedes the Refectorium hall at Schloss Poellau)