International Geophysical Year

International Geophysical Year

      worldwide program of geophysical research that was conducted from July 1957 to December 1958. IGY was directed toward a systematic study of the Earth and its planetary environment. The IGY encompassed research in 11 fields of geophysics: aurora and airglow, cosmic rays, geomagnetism, glaciology, gravity, ionospheric physics, longitude and latitude determinations, meteorology, oceanography, seismology, and solar activity. Because the IGY period was chosen to coincide with the maximum sunspot cycle, when solar flares and other disturbances are prevalent, research on the Sun was especially significant.

      In 1950 a group of geophysicists led by the American scientist Lloyd V. Berkner (Berkner, Lloyd Viel) proposed a third International Polar Year, an international scientific effort that would utilize the advances made in instrumentation, rocketry, and information processing since the Second International Polar Year of 1932–33. These proposals soon broadened from the field of polar studies to a wider array of geophysical research. The parent body of international scientific organizations—the International Council of Scientific Unions—sanctioned the broader study of proposals for what became known as the International Geophysical Year. National IGY committees were then established by scientific organizations in many countries, and more than 70 nations ended up cooperating in IGY.

      The IGY pioneered in the use of rocketry to conduct studies of high-altitude and upper-atmosphere phenomena. Several of the earliest artificial satellites launched by the Soviet Union and the United States in the late 1950s were used to gather data for the IGY.

      In retrospect, perhaps the most important achievement of the IGY was its verification in 1958 of scientists' suggestion that there existed a continuous system of submarine mid-oceanic ridges that encircled the globe. The implications of this mountain chain, the largest on Earth, were only understood in the 1970s with the recognition of plate tectonics as a basic phenomenon of the Earth's crust.

      The discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts (Van Allen radiation belt), which surround the Earth at altitudes of hundreds and thousands of kilometres, was another major achievement of IGY. The inner Van Allen belt was first delineated by instruments aboard the early Explorer satellites in 1958, and the space probes Pioneers III and IV discovered the second Van Allen belt soon afterward. Specific discoveries and findings represented only a part of the technical results of IGY. Most of the effort involved the collection of synoptic data—i.e., data that gave a comprehensive overview of global physical phenomena.

      The success of the IGY inspired the formation of several other cooperative international research programs, notably the International Years of the Quiet Sun (1964–65), the International Hydrological Decade (1965–75), and the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (1970–80).

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • International Geophysical Year — The International Geophysical Year or IGY was an international scientific effort that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958.The IGY encompassed eleven Earth sciences: aurora and airglow, cosmic rays, geomagnetism, gravity, ionospheric… …   Wikipedia

  • International Polar Year — The International Polar Year (or IPY) is a collaborative, international effort researching the polar regions. Karl Weyprecht, an Austro Hungarian naval officer, motivated the endeavor, but died before it first occurred in 1882 1883. Fifty years… …   Wikipedia

  • International Heliophysical Year — The International Heliophysical Year is a UN sponsored but scientifically driven international program of scientific collaboration to understand external drivers of planetary environments and universal processes in solar terrestrial planetary… …   Wikipedia

  • Geophysical Year — Geophysical Year, a year set aside for the study of the earth, especially its interior, the atmosphere, magnetic and gravitational phenomena, and the like. Scientists from all parts of the world participate. The International Geophysical Year,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • International observance — This is not a list of National Days, commemorative days, or days which have some significance in one or a very small number of countries. International observance (also known as international dedication or international anniversary) denotes a… …   Wikipedia

  • international relations — a branch of political science dealing with the relations between nations. [1970 75] * * * Study of the relations of states with each other and with international organizations and certain subnational entities (e.g., bureaucracies and political… …   Universalium

  • International Year of Planet Earth — The United Nations General Assembly declared 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth to increase awareness of the importance of Earth sciences for the achievement of sustainable development.UN document |docid=A RES 60 192 |type=Resolution… …   Wikipedia

  • International Biological Program — The International Biological Program (IBP) was an effort between 1964 and 1974 to coordinate large scale ecological and environmental studies. Organized in the wake of the successful International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957 1958, the… …   Wikipedia

  • Geophysical MASINT — is a branch of Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) that involves phenomena transmitted through the earth (ground, water, atmosphere) and manmade structures including emitted or reflected sounds, pressure waves, vibrations, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Physical year — You may be looking for:*Fiscal year, used for calculating annual financial reports in businesses *International Geophysical Year, an international scientific effort in 1957 1958 *International Heliophysical year, an international scientific… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”