AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Pierre Auger. Portrait of the French physicist Pierre Victor Auger (1899-1993), circa 1940. In 1925, Auger discovered a phenomenon that is named the Auger effect. This refers to the emission of an electron (rather than a photon of light) by an excited atom (one that has gained energy) when it reverts to its lower energy state. He also studied cosmic rays. In 1938, he described the cascade of particles produced when cosmic rays (extremely energetic particles from space) enter the Earth's atmosphere, known as an Auger shower.
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