12 December, 2002
12 December, 2002
I had a very busy day today. The usual: up at 4 to start uploading movies, pictures, and journals.
Then, I wrote an arcticle about 2 of the scientists I've met for the Antarctic Sun, a weekly newspaper put out by the National Science Foundation at McMurdo. The Sun features a lot of excellent science writing, and they maintain a great web presence. Check it out at http://www.polar.org/antsun/Sun120802/index.html
We had a fire under the dome. No big deal, just a stuck washing machine belt got hot and rubbery and set of a detector. But think about it : fire here is very bad, for a number of reasons. I was very impressed to see how quickly the fire crew got on it. It only took seconds.
Then, off to the store, where I spent every last nickel of US money on shirts and postcards.
Then Phillipe & Julia & I hiked over to MAPO, and ran the last set of calibration tests on the AMANDA detector. Modern physics is as much about understanding your machine as it is about understanding the thing you¸re studying. This was a case in point. In order to detect neutrinos, you need to know precisely when each of the individual detectors in the array was "hit." So precisely, in fact, that if anything is changed in the detector, a wire, an amplifier, that may change or delay the signal time. So all those delays have to be measured and calibrated, so that when you get a real hit, you can know what it means. But calibrations, while crucial and necessary, are rather tedious. I made a time lapse movie of the process. It's funny, because not much happens.
Then, kite flying. I only had to use one kite, for the first time here. The wind picked up and it was really cold, and I almost killed my camcorder. A tape got jammed, and I had to reset the processor.
Then Robert, one of the winterovers, & I tried to fly his stunt kites at the pole. Great photo opp. No wind.
It was a bust.
Tomorrow, I'll stream live audio & video into my physics classes at Roosevelt using Apple Computer¸s QuickTime Streaming Server software. This was a bear to figure out, but we've tested it & think it will work (I waved to my wife in Seattle on Sunday). It should be fun : each webcast, I'll feature a different scientist talking about their work.
To make period one, which starts at 7:45 am in Seattle, I'll need to get moving at 3 am. No problem, it's always daytime.
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