Fall/Winter 2012

A Scientist and the Science

The ARA drilling rig, in motion at the South Pole.

ARA Scientist Michael Duvernois is willing to follow the neutrino to the ends of the earth. He is a scientist who joined the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, two years ago. He has worked at many well-known institutions from the University of Chicago, Penn State, and the University of Hawaii to most recently the University of Minnesota all with the intent of trying to find neutrinos. When you first meet Michael Duvernois, he is quiet, but when asked about Askaryan Radio Array and the science behind it, he immediately opens up. “Essentially I work on astronomical problems using the tools and techniques of particle physics. That is, particle detectors, triggering systems, and large scale computer support systems similar to those at accelerator experiments, but typically in much smaller collaborations,” he said. His work with ARA will be in the area of neutrino radio pulse detection.

This is what has led him out to PSL, with the Anechoic Chamber and the ARA project.  He explains that WIPAC and PSL have good people that deal with the bureaucratic work so the scientists can focus on their work. Also PSL helped with drill engineering, testing, electronics and shipping logistics. “I have never worked with a place that purchasing works as with WIPAC and PSL. You get questions concerning your purchases maybe later that afternoon, where with other projects questions may not come until 5 days later,” he said.  A good working team is essential to a successful project that faces such tight deadlines.


The ARA team at the South Pole.

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