The IceCube detector has been explained widely—in many different languages and in hundreds of locations around the world, and targeting diverse audiences online as well as in auditoriums, museums, and classrooms. But this is the first time that the IceCube Collaboration is making public every detail of the only cubic-kilometer neutrino detector to date, from a flasher board in the digital optical modules—aka DOMs—to the calibration processes that allow researchers to measure the properties of neutrinos, or to the IceCube Live website that IceCubers use to monitor what is going on in the detector. The publication, over 70 pages long, has just been submitted to the Journal of Instrumentation.
Wait a minute—seals? penguins? at the South Pole? Well, you’re right to wonder, because the climate at the South Pole, in central Antarctica, is too harsh for survival even for animals adapted to lower temperatures. But winterovers deserve a break from Pole life when possible, and IceCube winterover Martin made it to McMurdo station last week for a few days of R&R, where he was able to capture penguins, seals, and a skua—all in the same shot.
The UW–Madison Department of Physics hosted a meeting of the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) this past weekend (Jan 13-15, 2017) at Chamberlin Hall, UW–Madison. This event was one of ten CUWiP conferences held simultaneously around the US and in Canada. WIPAC was a main collaborator and also hosted an IceCube booth.
A relatively quiet week at the Pole … but sunny! IceCube winterover Martin captured a bright, radiating sun as it appeared to rest on the roof of the IceCube Lab (ICL). Sunny or not, no flights made it in or out last week, postponing Martin’s week of R&R that had been scheduled.
The year’s end doesn’t mean an end to the work going on at the Pole. Last week, continued detector upgrades and some inventory tasks were on the work roster. There was also considerable progress made on a new IceTop snow-depth sensor project, documented in this image.
Last week, Christmas was celebrated in many parts of the world, and that includes the South Pole. They had a makeshift “cargo” tree, presents for the winterovers, a fancy dinner—complete with a printed menu and assorted European desserts, and a party in the gym.