W. V. Houston, professor of physics and former president of the William Marsh Rice University in Houston, Texas, served in 1962 as president of the American Physical Society. The present article is based on his retiring presidential address before the Society, which was presented on January 24, 1963, at the annual APS meeting in New York City.
With the advent of ever more powerful particle accelerators, interest in cosmic‐ray phenomena has steadily shifted to energies higher than have been attained in the largest machines. According to the author, a cosmic‐ray specialist and professor of physics at New York University, the upper end of the cosmic‐ray spectrum is not yet in sight, and its extent is such that there are likely to be domains in pure physics for some time to come that only cosmic rays will be energetic enough to enter.
During the period January 26–30, 1963, some 300 physicists gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for an international conference on the physics of photons at energies greater than 1 BeV. The conference was sponsored jointly by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the United States Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. The author of this informal summary of the discussions is professor of physics at MIT.