International School of Cosmic Ray Astrophysics
16th Course: "Gamma Ray and Cosmic Ray Astrophysics: From below GeV to beyond EeV Energies"
5-12 July 2008
Ettore Majorana Centre
Erice, Sicily, Italy
Topic: The Physics of Extensive Air Showers and the Pierre Auger Observatory
Lecturer: Alan Watson
The extensive air shower is the phenomenon behind several of the topics that will be discussed during the 2008 Erice School. In the first part of this lecture I will outline the electromagnetic and hadronic physics that must be appreciated if a sound physical understanding of the development of air showers is to be obtained. Nowadays Monte Carlo calculations underpin much work in this field but to use these techniques without knowledge of the underlying physics is dangerous and limiting.