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UWP at the South Pole
Presentation on observatory Jan. 29
The IceCube lab during a sunset in 2011. - photo by Photo courtesy S. Lidstrom/NSF

PLATTEVILLE — Wisconsin has played a major role in the construction and management of one of the world’s largest, most interesting pieces of scientific equipment: the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, located at the South Pole in Antarctica.

IceCube researchers and engineers will host an interactive evening of South Pole exploration, covering topics like ice drilling, neutrino astronomy, and what it’s like to work at the South Pole, one of the harshest environments in the world, at UW–Platteville’s Ullsvik Hall Velzy Commons Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

The evening is appropriate for all ages and will give children and adults an opportunity to try hands-on activities and interact directly with South Pole staff and physics researchers.

IceCube, an innovative type of telescope that looks for rare particles called neutrinos, was constructed by drilling holes miles deep into the ice sheet that covers the South Pole.

It took seven years and the efforts of an international collaboration of scientists to design, test and build IceCube. The worldwide effort, stretching across the globe and into the heart of Antarctica, is rooted squarely in Wisconsin with key partners at UW–Madison and several staff members graduating from UW–Platteville.

UW–Platteville alumnus Jerry Marty has been to Antarctica more than a dozen times and was a driving force in getting the event together on campus.

“It’s an opportunity, as an alumnus, to assist and at the same time ‘give back,’ specifically to demonstrate to UW–Platteville students, and others in Wisconsin, the career opportunities my UW–Platteville degree has afforded me,” said Marty, who graduated from the School of Industry in 1969.

Marty has worked at the South Pole as a National Science Foundation representative and was part of a huge station modernization project. He credits his time at UW–Platteville for helping him see the big picture and develop problem solving skills. The NSF operates the South Pole station and is the major funding agency for IceCube.

To celebrate the Wisconsin connection and give back to the colleges and communities that supported IceCube, researchers are traveling around the state, providing engaging events for all age groups. IceCube volunteers will spend two days in Platteville, participating in an alumni breakfast event Wednesday, Jan. 30, and visiting university and school classrooms in the afternoon.

Funds for the statewide public education event are provided by the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center.

For more information about the upcoming events, visit