University of Wisconsin-Madison

Winter Over Experiments Operator

Degree Requirements

M.S. in Physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or related field is required. B.S. in Physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or related field and substantial (equivalent to a masters degree) experience will be considered.

Job Requirements

A minimum of three years of work experience inthe following areas:

  • Administering UNIX (preferably Linux) operating systems.
  • Configuring UNIX core services and network management.
  • Writing systems shell scripts (bash, python, perl).
  • Ability to take initiative (must be a self starter).
  • Excellent communication and organization skills.

Preferred Experience

  • Computer systems security methodology and experience with host based security tools.
  • Skills in maintaining and debugging of high-performance computing hardware.
  • Data storage products such as magnetic tape backups and RAID disk arrays.
  • Use of standard laboratory equipment such as oscilloscopes, function generators, spectrum analyzers, and OTDRs.
  • Understanding of TCP/IP networking
  • General electronics debugging and repair skills.
  • Experience working at Polar and high altitude sites and remote locations.
  • Physics background.

Principal Job Duties

Training for two candidates is anticipated to begin in Madison, WI in August. Deployment to the South Pole is expected to be in early October for 12-13 months with no possibility of leaving during the winter months from mid-February to mid-October. Expertise will be balanced between the two candidates over the range of skills required. Individuals will be required to have a good working knowledge of the entire system.

The candidates will be members of a small isolated community at the South Pole for eight months of the year. Community members participate in a wide range of activities including fire or trauma team, kitchen tasks, general cleaning, and station opening and closing duties. The candidates need to be physically qualified to work at polar and high altitude sites for one year.

The successful candidates will attend the NSF contractor orientation program and will be expected to pass physical and psychological evaluations required by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs.

Specific duties include:
  • Operate and maintain the IceCube detector
  • Operate and maintain complex computer data system at South Pole
  • Upload the research data via satellite to the northern hemisphere
  • Collect and analyze signals detected by the optical modules
  • Analyze and resolve problems with the electronics
  • Provide critical hardware and software support
  • Write and submit weekly reports to the collaboration and montly reports to the National Science Foundation.
  • Participate in outreach activities as they relate to WIPAC

This is a demanding job, working with a large team of scientists and engineers from a remote location along with living in a small isolated community at the South Pole. For the right individual this will be an exceptionally rewarding job, with a leading role in one of the most ambitious science projects in Antarctica.

Additional Information

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a research institution with an international reputation in physical sciences research and education. The Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) is a research center in the Graduate School with responsibility for the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a kilometer-scale neutrino detector at the South Pole. The detector consists of more than 5000 optical sensors deployed over one kilometer-deep in Antarctic ice. A collaboration of scientists from over thirty world-wide research institutions collectively participate in a research program to study high-energy neutrinos from cosmic sources. The collaboration uses the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station for this research program. UW-Madison is responsible to the National Science Foundation and the IceCube collaboration for the Maintenance & Operation of the observatory. Details can be found at

Along with a team of one additional IceCube winter-over personnel, this position will be responsible for all winter-over operations of this state-of-the-art neutrino observatory. This position is located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and reports to the Winter-over Manager in Madison, WI.

Working title IceCube Winter-Over Experiments Operator
Appointment type Academic Staff
Full time salary rate Minimum $65,000 ANNUAL (12 months)
Depending on Qualifications
Appointment percent 100%
Anticipated begin date August 1, 2014
Appointment Ends on January 31, 2016
Number of positions 2

How To Apply

To ensure consideration applications must be received by March 22, 2014

Application should include a letter of interest with reference to how the candidate meets the required qualifications, a resume, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references. E-mail the materials referring to "Position Vacancy Listing #78688 " to:

Frances Culwell
Suite 500
222 W. Washington Ave.
Madison WI 53703-2719
Phone: 608-261-9869
Fax: N/A

For TTY access, use WTRS 7-1-1 (if calling from within Wisconsin), or dial 1-800-947-3529, then enter the phone number above.

Note: Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, information regarding the names of applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality.

UW-Madison is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

A criminal background check will be conducted prior to hiring.

A period of evaluation will be required