Robert Hofstadter (1973) - Applications of Total Absorption Detectors to High Energy Physics

Robert Hofstadter (1973)

Applications of Total Absorption Detectors to High Energy Physics

Robert Hofstadter (1973)

Applications of Total Absorption Detectors to High Energy Physics

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This is the third in a series of four Lindau lectures by Robert Hofstadter, in which he reports on his post-Nobel project: cystal detectors for gamma rays and other particles. In the first lecture, which was given in 1968, he mentioned the names of just a few collaborators and graduate students. But – as might be expected from a successful project - the number of collaborators had increased strongly by 1973, so in the present lecture a rather long list of names is read. Hofstadter starts out with some personal history, how he invented an improved scintillation counter using crystals of sodium iodide, activated by thallium, while he was still at Princeton University. In 1968 he returned to the same kind of crystals, spurred by the construction of the new electron accelerator at SLAC. Now, at the 1973 Lindau Meeting, he reports that in a few days his detector will be used to test quantum electrodynamics at the SPEAR colliding beam facility at SLAC, where GeV beams of electrons and positrons are made to collide. At the two earlier lectures, Hofstadter used the blackboard to explain the principles of the detector technique used. This time, maybe also a sign that the project has become more established and successful, he has a slide show with many slides, even though he still uses the blackboard to some extent. On top of what can happen in high energy collisions, Hofstadter also discusses the progress in making large crystals. Since a total absorption detector works by actually stopping the particles, the size of the crystal determines the maximum particle energy detectable. In the 1940’s, Hofstadter’s crystals typically had a weight measured in grams. Now they could be made to weigh several hundred kilograms and in the future they probably could weigh as much as several tons. Such large crystals could be used, e.g., for the study of cosmic rays.Anders Bárány

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