University of Wisconsin-Madison

IceCube launches an international contest to engage students in STEM research and careers


The IceCube Collaboration announces the launch of the South Pole Experiment Contest. This new outreach project aims to engage middle school students from around the world in science exploration conducted in Antarctica. In this first edition, the contest is open to students in a few locations—Belgium, Germany, and the US—thanks to the initial support from IceCube institutions in these countries. In future editions, the contest will add new institutions and countries from the collaboration, expanding the international reach across the globe.

The South Pole Experiment Contest encourages students to develop research and critical thinking skills needed for STEM careers. Participant eligibility varies by country to adapt to the different school systems in the participating countries. For example, in the US, the contest is open to all middle school students. Please check the program's multilingual site in English, Dutch, French, German, and Spanish for the contest rules in each country.

The idea is for students to consider whether the differences between conditions where they live and those in Antarctica would change the way an experiment works. Students will create and conduct an experiment in their hometowns that can then be duplicated by IceCube scientists at the South Pole, which might result in different data and/or require a change in experimental set up. The South Pole Experiment Contest encourages students to think like scientists, design like engineers, and present like communicators.

When designing their experiments, students can ask for mentoring from IceCube scientists by writing to spexperiment at icecube.wisc.edu. The final submission is due by November 10th, 2017, and selected experiments will be performed between November 2017 and February 2018.