Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quantum diaries

I'm joining up with the Quantum Diaries particle physics blog in the next week or so. Will see how to balance my blogging from the southlands...

Cards from Pole

If you want a postcard or envelope from the South Pole (definitely with some South Pole postmark, and possibly with a cool South Pole postmark), let me know...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

General ARA talk

So I gave a talk on ARA for the folks here at the IceCube Research Center (soon to be the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center) at lunchtime. This was a talk intended for a mix of physics folks and the financial folks and the secretaries and all. Not sure if it was completely success for a general audience, but feel free to take a look at the talk. Comments always welcomed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My experiment at South Pole this year

Will be mostly working on ARA, the Askaryan Radio Array, which has only the saddest, slimmest web page at the moment. The writeup at Wikipedia is actually better, though hardly comprehensive.

If you can handle the science lingo, then your best bet is our paper on the Arxiv e-print server. That covers last year's TestBed installation and also the proposed, and perhaps soon-to-be-funded, full 37 station version of the experiment.

There are also some unannotated photos from last year's Pole season. Plus look back at my postings from last season.

C-17 Winter airdrop at South Pole

This was medical supplies for the Winter Station Manager who had a stroke back in August.

South Pole packing list

Well, for McMurdo Base on the coast, all you need are sneakers and regular clothes. Warm boots if you get cold feet easily, and the staff at the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center, not Centers for Disease Control) in Christchurch, New Zealand will get you outfitted with the rest. It's warmer there in McMurdo than back in the upper Midwest of the US in November through February.

But for Pole, it's genuinely cold there, and a lot of the work is outside. So you need to bring some good sock liners (polypropylene, or SmartWool, or silk, try REI or the like) to wear under big wool socks (these are issued, but you're better off with your own good wool socks, I like these Swedish army wool surplus socks I got a few years ago, big, thick, and comfortable). You also need slippers or flip flops for around the station and to the sauna and the like. Good thermal underwear is nice as what is issued doesn't fit me very well. Polypropylene or silk work well again for this inner layer. SmartWool if you can afford it. Outer layers are pretty good as issued, but a pair of your own warm boots is useful. Sorrels work fine. I have a pair of Columbia -40F (-40F and -40C are the same, which is nice and convenient) boots that are plenty warm enough most of the time.

One of my colleagues made an impression by wearing a tuxedo for the New Year's party. Suit and tie or nice dress are not out of place for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners. And you'll want a hat that people can recognize from a distance outside.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Resuming for the 2011-2012 South Pole campaign

I'm headed back to Antarctica for the ARA (Askaryan Radio Array) project in November. I'll be down at the Pole for the 100th anniversary of Amundsen's arrival at the Pole. So my blog should have lots of history as well as the "what I'm up to at the bottom of the world" sort of things. Stay tuned!