What Are They Doing?

A Digital Optical Module (DOM) hanging in the IceCube Lab at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica.
A Digital Optical Module (DOM) hanging in the IceCube Lab at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. Photo by Kate Miller.
IceCube is located at the South Pole and records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic messenger particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves using the 100,000 neutrinos detected per year produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. Their energies far exceed those from accelerator beams. IceCube encompasses a cubic kilometer of instrumented ice, and is the largest detector by volume ever built.

The fully built ARA project, also located at the South Pole, will have an effective volume 100 times bigger than IceCube. The trade off is that it is only capable of observing radio waves from extremely high energy neutrinos, a million times more energetic than the neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. This neutrinos are extremely rare, which is why such a large detector is needed to increase the chance of seeing one.

Where Are They?

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica.
The IceCube Neutrino Observatory at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. Photo by Kate Miller.
The team works at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. The IceCube site is about one kilometer from the South Pole station, which supplies the necessary logistics of food, power, and shelter. Despite the cold outside, life inside the station is relatively luxurious with comfortable beds, cooked meals, and showers twice a week.

The South Pole is reached by plane from McMurdo Station on the coast of Antarctica, accessible from the end of October through mid-February, after which time temperatures become too low for planes to operate safely. About 40 people remain at the South Pole station the rest of the year, which is known as wintering over. IceCube has two people dedicated to overseeing the operation of the telescope during this period at the South Pole.

Latest Journals

When we can't go to Antarctica, we bring Antarctic to us! In order to keep Antarctica COVID-free, the PolarTREC teachers have postponed our journeys until 2021-2022. (And so have most of our research teams!) But that doesn't mean we are far from polar research! In fact, the IceCube team launched…
HAPPY EARTH DAY 2020! In honor of the 50th Anniversary of a holiday that's near and dear to my heart, I'm here to share a silver lining as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a tie to Antarctic research too! Enjoy! https://youtu.be/6zM6Z5hD-j0 I'm so lucky to live in California and enjoy…
Scientist first... As a marine biologist, I spent much of my college career in a lab. Between required courses, and extra research, I spent countless hours learning techniques and taking every opportunity to get back into the field. Like many people, my favorite part of research was hanging off…
From my childhood days... Hi everyone! My name is Elaine and I am SO excited to be a PolarTREC educator this year! I've always loved science as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Midwest which was a great place to explore the world. When I was 10 years old, I asked for a telescope and a…
South Pole Station, Antarctica
Project Funded Title
IceCube and The Askaryan Radio Array
Elaine Krebs - Educator
California Science Center

Elaine is the Lead Educator at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California. As an informal educator, Elaine can be found both at the Science Center, and on the road, delivering programs to school groups, scout troops, homeschooled students, community centers, and the general public. She also writes curriculum for 3rd-8th graders participating in their various school programs and summer camps.

Prior to her current role, Elaine worked in Exhibit Development at the California Science Center, before teaching outdoor education on Catalina Island, CA and Big Bear Mountain, CA. Elaine received her M.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology from the University of Southern California (USC) where she studied the human impact on water quality and microscopic organisms. She turned her research into an animation entitled “The Nitrogen Cycle” which took first prize at the USC Science Film Festival in 2016. In her free time, Elaine enjoys swing dancing and traveling the world.

Jim Madsen - Researcher
University of Wisconsin River Falls

Dr. Madsen is the chair of the Physics Department at UW-River Falls and Associate Director of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory where he directs the education and outreach program. His research interests include heliophysics and astrophysics, which he has studied at his various projects in Antarctica. In addition to research, Dr. Madsen is committed to reaching a broad audience beyond the research community. He is involved in education and outreach for the IceCube project including professional development courses for teachers and science and math instruction for the UWRF Upward Bound Program. He collaborates with a number of programs and institutions in addition to PolarTREC, including the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, UW-River Falls Upward Bound and McNair Programs, and service groups (Rotary International, Boy and Girl Scouts, university alumni associations, etc.). You can read more about Dr. Madsen's work here and here.

"Working in Antarctica is a wonderful adventure, and it is great to provide opportunities for others to have this awesome experience."

Michael DuVernois - Researcher
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Michael DuVernois is a Senior Scientist with the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center and a Research Professor with the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is an experimental physicist working on the IceCube and ARA neutrino observatories at the South Pole. His other research interests include high-energy gamma-ray astronomy, humanitarian demining, and detector development for particle and astro-particle physics. Less technically, he has bowled on all seven continents, and is found most Austral Summers at the South Pole supervising students and technicians. He has previously flown satellite experiments in orbit and through the solar system, balloon instruments to the top of the Earth’s atmosphere, and built instrumentation for mountain-top and extended ground-based observatories.

IceCube and The Askaryan Radio Array 2022 Resources

There are currently no resources associated with this expedition.