Heidelberg University

Particle Physics with Orbit Based Instruments

Stephan Zimmer, University of Innsbruck


Space is the final frontier. Traditionally, particle physics is conducted in accelerator complexes around the globe in which scientists make particles undergo collisions at ever higher energies. Yet, the achieved energies are only a fraction of what is realized in space. Aimed with the knowledge of how to develop particle detectors, the past decade has seen the advent of massively successful orbit-based instruments, such as the Fermi Large Area Telescope, a satellite in orbit above the Earth, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02 on board of the International Space Station) and more recently, through the exceptional investments made by the People's republic of China that launched several space probes in short succession, among those the DArk Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) and the X-ray polarimeter, POLAR. From an experimentalist's view of detection techniques of past and present orbit-based instruments, in this lecture I will review what we have learned about the always present cosmic radiation, nature's most powerful accelerators and why it is worth paying attention to this blossoming field.