The Origins of Magnetospheric Physics



Professor James Van Allen has written a delightful little book on the history of research on the earth's radiation belt. This history is surely unique. It started in the 1950's with a completely new and unexpected discovery about the nature of energetic particles in near-earth space. Three decades later it is a mature science with a general understanding of the distribution and energy of particles near the earth and a reasonably good theory explaining the origins, life histories, and losses.