Monday, September 17, 2007

Physicist James A. Van Allen, a leader in space exploration who discovered the radiation belts surrounding the Earth that now bear his name, died Wednesday. He was 91. The University of Iowa, where he taught for years, announced the death in a statement on its Web site. In a career that stretched over more than a half-century, Van Allen designed scientific instruments for dozens of research flights, first with small rockets and balloons, and eventually with space probes that traveled to distant planets and beyond.

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