Born on 26th November, 1926, in Jhang, in undivided Punjab, Dr. Yash Pal was an Indian scientist, educator, science communicator and educationist. After completing his M.Sc. degree in Physics from Panjab University, he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his PhD. His areas of specialisation included cosmic rays.
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A protective sheath covering the earth, bombarding cosmic rays, violent storms in the upper atmosphere – these are not figments of imagination from a sci-fi novel but are rather accurate descriptions of the space surrounding the earth. In fact, the space around our planet is chock full of high energy particles whizzing around, like the solar wind, a steady stream of charged particles emanating from the sun and Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR), ultra high energy particles of cosmic origins travelling at nearly the speed of light. Why then don’t we have to bother about the effects of such high energy particles that can affect our electronic gadgets and damage our DNA? The answer is the geomagnetic field, the magnetic field of the earth, extending from the core out into space a distance of several earth radii, forming a region around the earth called the magnetosphere.The GMF acts as our natural shield by deflecting high energy charged particles away from the earth.