So here I am in Fairbanks attending PolarTREC Orientation – the first leg of a long adventure to come. I am honored to be chosen as one of 15 teachers traveling to the arctic regions this year. The research we’re doing is absolutely, mind-blowingly amazing! From polar gigantism (think giant daddy longlegs living at the bottom of the ocean) to surveying ice sheets using lidar from an airplane to my own project of detecting high-energy neutrinos coming from across the universe, I’m truly in awe.
Fairbanks itself is a cute little city located in central Alaska. It took me two flights and a full day’s worth of travel to get here. Although tired from plane rides and the time-zone difference, I still managed to see a little bit of downtown last night as we (me and a group of other teachers) walked to dinner. As it turns out, Fairbanks has quite a selection of Thai food – very tasty. The mountains in the distance are beautiful and the new dusting of snow is stunning. Most surprising to me is how dark it is all the time. Of course, I know because we’re so far north the amount of daylight this time of year is limited; nonetheless it’s quite shocking to look out the window at 9 a.m. and see the sun barely peeking above the horizon.
I’m excited to see what’s in store for us tomorrow. More technology training is scheduled, outreach discussions are in the late morning, and dinner will be on our own. I hope I can make it out tomorrow night to see the Aurora Borealis! Or maybe a trip to the nearby hot springs is in order… We’ll see what adventure comes my way next.