University of Wisconsin-Madison

IceCube at the World Science Festival

With summer on its way, many of us venture outside to search the night sky for stars, constellations, and planets. But IceCube, frozen in the ice at the South Pole, is always exploring the universe.

On Sunday, June 5, IceCube will be part of the “take over” of Washington Square Park for Street Science, a free World Science Festival event. Dozens of research groups are offering hands-on activities, demonstrations, and exhibits to engage curious visitors of all ages.

Francis Halzen, principal investigator of IceCube, is seen in front of the LED model during the 2015 Wisconsin Science Festival in Madison, WI. Credit: Megan Madsen, WIPAC
Francis Halzen, principal investigator of IceCube, is seen in front of the LED model during the 2015 Wisconsin Science Festival in Madison, WI. Credit: Megan Madsen, WIPAC

Scientists from IceCube collaboration institutions will host an interactive booth focusing on exploring the universe from the South Pole. Participants will discover why neutrinos – tiny, invisible particles – are used to explore some of the most exciting phenomena in the universe, learn how IceCube “sees” these elusive particles, and use a bean bag toss to try their luck at triggering atmospheric and astrophysical neutrinos in the IceCube LED scale model.

“We are looking forward to describing how IceCube contributes to the continual quest of science to explore the universe in new ways,” says Jim Madsen, IceCube associate director for education and outreach.

Visitors can also try their hand at ice drilling with hot water, an experience that mimics the construction of IceCube at the South Pole, wear extreme cold weather gear issued for working in one of the world’s harshest environments, and chat with South Pole veterans.

It took seven years and the efforts of an international collaboration to design, test, and build the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. The worldwide collaboration, stretching across the globe and into the heart of Antarctica, is dedicated to sharing the excitement of this cool project with learners of all ages.