By Lev I. Dorman, Irina V. Dorman
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Extra resources for Cosmic Ray History
R. Wilson to refuse the prophetical assumption of an extraterrestrial origin of an ionizing radiation. 6. Electroscope of Wilson (1900) for measuring ionization rate in air. From I. Dorman (M1981). R. Wilson. Marie Curie (1898), studying uranium and thorium radiation, wrote as much at the end of the 19th century "for interpretation of spontaneous radiation of these elements it is necessary to imagine that all space is crossed by the beams similar to beams of the X-ray, but considerably more penetrating.
They considered that nevertheless that it is possible to explain the received results by radioactive pollutions. Doubts of R. Millikan and his scientific group got stronger after measurements of the absorption factor of high-altitude radiation in lead. R. Millikan (1924) with his student R. Otis performed these measurements during a summer expedition in 1923 on the mountain Pike's Peak (4300 m). They placed a plate of lead of thickness 48 mm over the device measuring the speed of ionization, and found out that the factor of absorption of high-altitude radiation in the lead is close to the factor of absorption of -rays that are let out by thorium.
Let us note, by the way, that the basic argument of R. Millikan was not correct. Equal weights of air and water on a unit area absorb high-altitude radiation not absolutely equally. If the experimental techniques of that time allowed to obtain more exact data, Millikan would find out a difference between corresponding instrument readings in both lakes. Moreover, it could have prevented drawing the correct conclusion! 2. sеc–1, then the data received from observations in various lakes, lays down on one curve.