Fall 2011

Working at the South Pole

Not many people board a plane for a business trip to the South Pole, but those working for PSL know that it is possible. This would be Andy Arbuckle’s second time to the Scott Amundsen Base. 

His long journey began in Madison with stops in Chicago; Los Angeles; Christchurch, New Zealand; McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast; and the final destination Amundsen – Scott, South Pole Station.   Together the flight times together total an unthinkable thirty seven hours one way. 

 Looking at it with a more positive perspective Andy said, “It’s a nice flight over the mountains and I just think of how the explorers must have made it to the Pole.”

Although we know there were many obstacles to overcome for the explorers, the people who travel today have their own obstacles to overcome.  Before they can begin to work they need to acclimate to the lack of oxygen due to the extreme altitude, jet lag and they also must face extreme cold. 

Extreme cold he was prepared for, but the amount of cables for the IceCube Lab was an extreme he did not expect.  Andy explained, “The cables are for the communications and power to the DOMs that are in the ice, and there are a lot of cables in the room. The first time I went in the room I was shocked by all the cables, it took me by surprise.”  The IceCube lab connects 5,160 DOMs (Digital Optical Modules) with 5 servers.

Andy was also involved with helping deploy the first two Dark Matter sensors into the ice with Reina Maruyama’s DM-Ice project.  He first started working with the DM-Ice project in Stoughton and now he would be there to help in the deployment. 

Despite the endless hours of travel, frigid conditions, six weeks away from home, Andy comments, “The South Pole is a neat and special place to see. To work with a great group of people that is something that I will remember for a long time.  It is too bad that more people don’t have the chance to go there.”


Contact Us | Visit the PSL web page | Archive
© 2011 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
Feedback, questions, or accessibility issues: webmaster@psl.wisc.edu