My third submission to SciNote.ORG is about living and doing Science at a south pole research station.
Have to say that the Editor who worked with me on this piece did a really awesome job of embellishing my original work.
What is it like to live and do science at a South-Pole research station?
Can you imagine living in the frigid and utterly desolate environment of the South Pole for nearly 11 months? Well, we can’t either, but Jason Gallicchio, a postdoctoral researcher at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, has done it.
Gallicchio, an associate fellow for the Kavli Insitute of Physics at the University of Chicago, is part of an astrophysics experiment at the South Pole Telescope. He knows all about the challenges of building and maintaining such a complex scientific instrument in one of the most unforgiving places on the planet. Gallacchio was primarily responsible for the telescope’s data acquisition and software systems, and he also occasionally assisted with some maintenance work.
You might ask why anyone would even put a telescope in such a hostile environment in the first place. It’s not an accident, I promise! Actually, placing the telescope at the South Pole minimizes the interference from the Earth’s atmosphere. One of the primary objectives of the South Pole Telescope is to precisely measure temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background, and getting such precise measurements requires the telescope to be put in a high, dry, and atmospherically stable site.
The South Pole Telescope is 10 meters across and weighs 280 tons. Researchers use this telescope to study cosmic microwave background radiation (or CMB, as it’s often affectionately called), hoping to uncover hints about the early days of our universe.
As Erik M. Leitch of the University of Chicago explains, CMB is a sort of faint glow of light that fills the universe, falling on Earth from every direction with nearly uniform intensity. It is the residual heat of creation—the afterglow of the Big Bang—streaming through space in these last 14 billion years, like the heat from a sun-warmed rock, re-radiated at night.
Click here to read more about life at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
You can learn even more about the topics discussed in this summary at the links below:
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
A brief introduction to the Electromagnetic spectrum
Cosmic microwave background
A day in the life of South Pole Telescope
Big Science With The South Pole Telescope
Submitted by Srikar D, Discoverer.
Edited by Jessica F.
“Reading is dreaming with open eyes.”
Welcome to “10 stories to read this weekend,” a weekly feature that links to some interesting stories:
But What About Greenland? (Tim Urban / Wait But Why)
How much do you know about Greenland? Chances are not much. Yes, you do know about its prominent location on this planet’s map, and yes, you know that it is really cold out there. Perhaps you know that it is a sovereign territory of Denmark - and a bit about how the size of Greenland is falsely represented on a world map. This piece by Tim Urban will answers questions about this mysterious land that you’ve never even thought of.
The Nuclear Tourist (George Johnson / National Geographic Magazine)
Visiting the site of the Chernobyl meltdown.
The Pillars of Arab Despotism (Robert F. Worth / The New York Reviews of Books)
Was the flowering of liberal Arab youth an illusion? Juan Cole, a prominent liberal blogger and scholar of the Middle East, thinks not. In The New Arabs, he argues that the upheavals of 2011 were the product of a new generation of activists that has already wrought deep social changes, and is likely—eventually—to reshape much of the Middle East in its own image: more democratic, more tolerant, and more secular. This perspective may look defiantly optimistic at present. But Middle Eastern politics are notoriously mercurial. Taking a longer view is wise, assuming one knows which way to look.
The Plunge (Carl Schreck / Grantland)
The incredible story of Shavarsh Karapetyan, a Soviet swimming champion who dove into Armenia’s Lake Yerevan and saved dozens of lives from a sinking trolleybus nearly 40 years ago.
A Roughed-Up Rider’s Race to the Altar (Mary Topping / Narratively)
When a take-no-prisoners motocross rider suffers a horrific thirty-foot fall weeks before her wedding, she fights her way out of a coma and vows to walk down the aisle on her own two feet.
Plutonium: The scary element that saved the crew of Apollo 13 (Justin Rowlatt / BBC News Magazine)
Plutonium is best known as the main ingredient of atomic bombs like the infamous Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, which killed some 70,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later, but the threat of nuclear annihilation locked the world into Cold War for decades. Yet the story of plutonium is not all about Armageddon or the threat of it. It is also the story of an incredible voyage of discovery into an unknown world.
The Dirty Secrets Behind the Race to Put a Man on the Moon (Kurt Eichenwald / Newsweek)
US intelligence had stolen – or, more accurately, borrowed – one of the Soviet Union’s most important technologies, a Lunik space vehicle, a key component in the Soviet Union’s race with the US to be the first to reach the moon. The “kidnapping” of that missile – done without the Soviets ever knowing about it – is one of many wild, and sometimes weird, secret operations and schemes exposed for the first time in a series of recently declassified government documents concerning the so-called Space Race.
Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife? (Tony Hiss / Smithsonian Magazine)
The eminent evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has an audacious vision for saving Earth from a cataclysmic extinction event.
Sigmund Freud: The phrases you use without realising it (Jon Kelly / BBC News Magazine)
It’s 75 years since the death of Sigmund Freud, and the words and phrases he popularised are deeply ingrained in popular culture and everyday language. How did Freudian jargon become so widespread?
Wonder Boys? History of Genius (Tamsin Shaw / The New York Reviews of Books)
Many of us now use the term “genius” as a simple expression of wonder, referring to a person or an achievement that we find inexplicably brilliant. But as McMahon’s rich narrative shows, across its long history the term has accrued connotations that go far beyond this common-sense core, leading us into the realms of superstition, bad science, and subservience to questionable forms of authority.
Note: “10 stories to read this weekend” is a marquee feature of this blog. New editions are published every friday at 22:00 IST / 16:30 GMT.
As of this month, the world’s population is now 7.2 billion, and half of those people are living in just six countries.
Read more: pewrsr.ch/1rurU6a via Pew Research Center
Bonus Fact: Nearly 38% of the World’s population live in India and China.
TANZANIA, UNITED REPUBLIC OF, Kilimanjaro : Cricketers play on September 26, 2014 on the ice-covered crater of the Kilimanjaro mountain, Tanzania . The game is an attempt to play the world’s highest game of cricket, breaking the previous record set in 2009 on Mount Everest. The attempt comes after a gruelling eight-day trek up the vast extinct volcano, to play a full Twenty 20 game on crater just below its rugged peak at 5,7895 meters (19,000 feet). AFP PHOTO/PETER MARTELL
Flooding Risk From Climate Change, Country by Country
If global carbon emissions continue on current trends and sea levels are affected by climate change about as much as expected, about 2.6 percent of the global population (about 177 million people) will be living in a place at risk of regular flooding.
Read more and check the interactive map @nytimes.com
Climate Change poses a threat to all of humanity and yet, we as whole are failing in our duty to do anything about it because we all have our lives to live, don’t we?
See Also: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change and what to do about it
Charming visualization from this altogether delightful children’s book about space – an imaginative and illuminating primer on the cosmos to spark awe in the souls of budding Sagans.
Which countries are responsible for climate change?
Country sizes show the eventual CO₂ emissions from oil, coal and gas extracted each year. Many of these fuels are exported rather than used domestically, but arguably the countries extracting and selling fossil fuels bear a degree of responsibility for the resulting emissions.
See who is most vulnerable to global warming’s impacts »
This animated maps does a really good job of putting all the numbers associated with climate change in context. Set aside a few minutes and take a look.