Professor Josh Spitz

U-M physicist Joshua Spitz has been awarded a prestigious Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative grant of $1,250,000 to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmic ray rate imprinted on rocks over the past billion years. Spitz's groundbreaking work has the potential to increase the sensitivity to historical cosmic ray rates on Earth by two orders of magnitude, unveiling insights into the rate evolution across up to 5 galactic orbits of our planet.

Professor Spitz and his team will pioneer a method to measure cosmic ray rates through the study of atmospheric neutrino event-induced signature damage to the crystalline structure of natural minerals found deep beneath the Earth's surface. Using advanced X-ray and electron microscopy techniques to analyze the subtle changes in these minerals' structures, which have been accumulating data for hundreds of millions or even billions of years, they aim to establish detailed imaging and pattern recognition strategies for finding these rare events.

"Understanding the cosmic ray rate imprinted on rocks throughout Earth's history is a monumental endeavor. This grant enables us to explore uncharted territories of knowledge and potentially rewrite the cosmic ray history of our planet," Josh Spitz stated. "We are incredibly grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for their visionary support."

The Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative is known for its commitment to fostering scientific innovation and pushing the boundaries of knowledge. The initiative, now in its second round of funding, has selected twenty-one exceptional experimental physicists to receive a grant of $1,250,000 each over the next five years.

Josh Spitz's research embodies the spirit of the Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative. His work not only represents scientific excellence but also exemplifies the kind of innovative thinking that can drive our understanding of the cosmos forward.

About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters groundbreaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, improvements in patient care, and the preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit or follow @moorefound on Twitter.

More Information:

Josh Spitz
Kai Sun
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announcement
Josh Spitz’s Investigator Profile

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