David F. Nitz

David F. Nitz


Professor, Physics

  • PhD, Physics, University of Rochester


My research interests focus on understanding the origin of the highest energy cosmic rays. Cosmic rays with energies in excess of 1020eV have been observed striking Earth's atmosphere; these particles are the most energetic known in our universe, with more than 100 million times the energy produced at the largest particle accelerator. We have no satisfactory understanding of the source or acceleration mechanisms of these highest energy cosmic rays.

The Pierre Auger Observatory is designed to detect and study cosmic rays at energies exceeding 1019eV with unprecedented quality and precision. With the Auger Project we hope to solve a 30-year-old astrophysical puzzle.


  • Experimental Particle Astrophysics

Recent Publications

  • The Cosmic Ray Composition between 1014 and 1016 eV (with M.A.K. Glasmacher et al.), Astropart. Phys. 12, 1 (1999).
  • The Cosmic Ray Energy Spectrum with CASA-MIA (with M.A.K. Glasmacher et al.), Astropart. Phys. 10, 291 (1999).
  • Triggering and Data Acquistition Systems for the Auger Observatory (D. Nitz), IEEE Transactions on Nucl. Science 45, 1824 (1998).
  • Constraints on Gamma-ray Emission from the Galactic Plane at 300 TeV (with A. Borione et al.), Astrophys. J. 493, 175 (1998).
  • Limits on the Isotropic Diffuse Flux of Ultrahigh Energy Gamma-Radiation (with M.C. Chantell et al.), Phys. Rev. Lett. 79, 1805 (1997).
  • Search for Ultrahigh Energy Gamma-Ray Emission from the Crab Nebula and Pulsar (with A. Borione et al.), Astrophys. J. 481, 313 (1997).
  • High Statistics Search for Ultra-High Energy Gamma-Ray Emission from Cygnus X-3 and Hercules X-1 (with A. Borione et al.), Phys. Rev. D55, 1714 (1997).