I’m In A Planetarium Show! “Chasing the Ghost Particle”

Jeffrey Donenfeld Press, Science Leave a Comment

During my deployment to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica in the Austral Summer 2012-2013, my good friend Blaise was working with the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium at the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Throughout the summer season, Blaise worked with a RED HD Video Camera and a very wide angle lens to film daily lives around the station- including mine, as well as various aspects of the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory. The footage Blaise captured was produced into the planetarium presentation “Chasing the Ghost Particle: From the South Pole to the Edge of the Universe“, released December 2013, and playing at planetariums nationwide. (Full Dome Database Listing) From University of Wisconsin: Deep in the ice at the heart of Antarctica, IceCube, the biggest and strangest detector in the world waits for mysterious messengers from the cosmos. Scientists are using tiny and elusive particles called neutrinos to explore the most extreme places in the universe. These ghostly neutrinos give us an exclusive way to study powerful cosmic engines like exploding stars and black holes. In this 30-minute show, stunning simulations of the most energetic places in our universe, and the galaxies around us, are the prelude to a thrilling journey inside IceCube, looking for traces of neutrino collisions in the ice. From one of the most remote locations on Earth to the unexplored regions of the cosmos, Chasing the Ghost Particle: From the South Pole to the Edge of the Universe will take you on a journey you won’t forget. Since I was working on the station during filming, I’m actually in the planetarium movie a few times, which is very cool! Screen grabs included, and a “demo copy” of the film is included below. (Full show demo is …

WAIS Divide Ice Core: Backlit Snow Pit 
A researcher examines layers in a snow pit deposited by different storms.
Credit: Dr. Kendrick Taylor (kendrick.taylor@dri.edu)

Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/ice_drilling/sets/72157626163425403

I’m Going Back To Antarctica To Work At The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Field Camp

Jeffrey Donenfeld Ask Me Anything, Trips Leave a Comment

After a year of training, travel, expeditioning, and preparation, this Austral Summer I’m going back to Antarctica to work with the United States Antarctic Program on an science expedition at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Field Camp, one of the most remote permanent field stations in Antarctica. I’m very excited to be going back to the ice, and luckily this time have more than the five days of preparation I had last time. Here’s a bit more information about my upcoming scientific deployment, including details on getting me to send you mail from Antarctica! My Job in Antarctica – Ice Drilling Field Specialist This year, I’ll be working at the WAIS Divide Ice Core Field Camp for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center as an Ice Drilling Design and Operations group Field and Drill Specialist. I’ll be on the ice from from December 2014 – January 2015, living and working inland in Western Antarctica . Basically, I’ll be living in a remote field camp in Antarctica working on a small team to disassemble, package, ship, and store the large DISC Drill. The DISC Drill is an ice coring drill, which has been used for past 7 years to drill 3000+ meters into the antarctica ice in order to extract pieces of ice from deep in the ice sheet. These “core samples” were then packaged up and shipped to a lab and storage facility in Denver. This season, the ice drill is due for some maintenance, upgrading, and relocation to Eastern Antarctica, and it’s my team’s job to take the whole thing apart and get it packaged up and flown back to McMurdo Base, where it will then be transported back to Madison, Wisconsin to undergo repairs and upgrades. Relevant Links and Files Regarding My Job In Antarctica Summer ’14-’15 Job Posting/Description …

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Applying to the Ecologic Institute’s Arctic Summer College

Jeffrey Donenfeld Ask Me Anything Leave a Comment

This summer, transdisciplinary research organisation The Ecologic Institute will hold its 3rd annual Arctic Summer College, and I plan on attending. To apply, I wrote two essays speaking to my interests in the program, as well as issues facing the region. Here’s what I had to say: Arctic Summer College Application Essays – Summer, 2014 1. Please describe your personal interest in the Arctic Summer College, its relevance for your career, how you intend to contribute, and how you intend to use the knowledge/network acquired through the course. Participating in the Arctic Summer College curriculum this summer will act as integral educational opportunity and building block of my aspirational career working within the Arctic field support and stewardship industry. I strive to support the efforts of conservators, advocates, and scientists in promoting sustainability and cooperation in the Arctic region. Previously, I worked with the United States Antarctic Program at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. While on the station, although my primary position was as a cook, I took every opportunity I could to get involved with the various science, research, and conservation groups on station. I was lucky enough to be able to contribute my time to a number of science teams, as well as work as the station’s Tour Guide. As a field science assistant, I participated first hand in building and maintaining complete science and industrial equipment, and realized the extensive amount of energy and skill is required to maintain efficiency, effective operations at the poles. As tour guide, I conveyed to international tourists, adventurers, and community leaders my enthusiasm for the work being done, and the ecological and social imperative to properly protect the unique and valuable antarctic environment. I look forward to furthering my polar studies, and supporting sustainability and responsibility in the arctic. I intend …


Speaking About Antarctica at Percolate Inspire

Jeffrey Donenfeld Ask Me Anything, Press 1 Comment

Last October, I was invited to appear as the featured speaker at Percolate’s monthly Inspire speaker series. Here’s video of my talk: More on Percolate: Percolate helps brands create content at social scale. Some key features include: – Track events and plan content at the intersection of brand voice and cultural relevance – Employees never miss a social moment with the Percolate Photographer app – Create branded images at the speed of social with the Percolate Image editor


I’ll Be Appearing At The New York Travel Festival, Speaking About Adventure Travel in Antarctica

Jeffrey Donenfeld Ask Me Anything, Events, Press Leave a Comment

This year, the New York Travel Festival is taking place April 26-27, 2014 in New York City. I've been selected by the organizers to act as the resident expert on Antarctica.  Read my bio on the NY Travel Festival website.  The New York Travel Festival aims to reinvent the consumer travel show for tech-savvy, immersive travelers. We go beyond booths and brochures to provide interactive experiences to people who see travel as a means of experience, not just escape. NY Trav Fest brings together a unique blend of consumers, media and industry to mingle and discuss the future of travel together. Here's what I'll be up to during the event: Pre-show: Travel Babel Intro Video Saturday, April 26 Expert's Corner - Meeting with general public andanswering questions about Adventure Travel in Antarctica. BOOK MY TIME FOR THIS SESSION Sunday, April 27 Antarctica Trivia Round, 12-1pm ADD TO CALENDAR Antarctica Talk and Slideshow, 3-4pm:  "Surviving the world’s highest, coldest, windiest and driest desert — Antarctica" ADD TO CALENDAR Exploring Earth's Most Extreme Continent - Antarctica. During the '12-'13 Austral Summer, Jeffrey Donenfeld deployed with the United States Antarctic Program to live and work at the most remote outpost of humanity, in the middle of the highest, coldest, windiest, and driest desert in the world - at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, South Pole, Antarctica. Live on the station was extreme in every sense - extreme weather conditions, extremely cold, extreme science, and extremely fun. Join Jeffrey as he shares critically acclaimed photographs and first-person video clips shot while on station, as well as hear how YOU can make your own journey to explore the earth's southernmost continent. NY Travel Festival Full Official Schedule (Bio on Sched) Get your tickets now and come see me in April - use these promo codes: Code 'JEFFZILLA' $30 ...

First Results From The BICEP2 CMB Telescope Announced re: Gravitational Waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background

Jeffrey Donenfeld News, Science 2 Comments

A little over a year ago, I had the extraordinary opportunity to work with scientists John Kovac, Jon Kaufman, Howard Hui, and others at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica (summary of my experience living and working at the south pole) on the BICEP2 and KECK Array Microwave Telescopes. Learning about how the telescopes worked, as well as the science behind what they were doing directly from the scientists involved was a great opportunity, and I was happy to be able to make my small contribution to the project. Checking out BICEP2 Refueling BICEP2 Working on KECK RESULTS “Researchers from the BICEP2 collaboration today announced the first direct evidence for this cosmic inflation. Their data also represent the first images of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time. These waves have been described as the “first tremors of the Big Bang.” Finally, the data confirm a deep connection between quantum mechanics and general relativity.” Announcement from NASA JPL: Astronomers are announcing today that they have acquired the first direct evidence that gravitational waves rippled through our infant universe during an explosive period of growth called inflation. This is the strongest confirmation yet of cosmic inflation theories, which say the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times, in less than the blink of an eye. The findings were made with the help of NASA-developed detector technology on the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation. “Operating the latest detectors in ground-based and balloon-borne experiments allows us to mature these technologies for space missions and, in the process, make discoveries about the universe,” said Paul Hertz, NASA’s Astrophysics Division director in Washington. This morning, they announced their first set of results from Bicep2 at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics: From Sean Carrol: Monday morning: here are results! …

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Infographic: Major Icebreakers of the World

Jeffrey Donenfeld Infographic, News, Science, Technology Leave a Comment

Great infographic today thanks to the US Coast Guard – a comprehensive review of the world’s major icebreakers. My next task, sail on all of them! From the United States Naval Institute: “The Coast Guard Office of Waterways and Ocean Policy (CG-WWM) began producing the chart of major icebreakers of the world in July 2010. Since then, we have gathered icebreaker information and recommendations from a variety of sources and experts, including icebreaker subject-matter experts, internet posts, news updates, Arctic experts and Coast Guard offices with icebreaker equities. We validate our information within the public forum and update the chart at least semi-annually based on new information and feedback. This chart represents the Coast Guard’s current factual understanding of the major icebreaker fleet. This chart is not intended for icebreaker fleet comparisons and no inference should be drawn regarding a country’s icebreaker “ranking” against another.” U.S. Coast Guard's 2013 Review of Major Icebreakers of the World | USNI News.


The Coldest Place in the World: Dome Argus, East Antarctica

Jeffrey Donenfeld News, Science, Video Leave a Comment

NASA recently revealed that a spot in Antarctica just hit a record -135.3 degrees F below zero – that’s cold! In my time at the south pole, the coldest I experienced was -60F – not even close to the record. Fron NBC News: Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said the new record is “50 degrees colder than anything that has ever been seen in Alaska or Siberia or certainly North Dakota.” “It’s more like you’d see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles,” Scambos said, from the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco Monday, where he announced the data. “I’m confident that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth.” Here’s a quick explainer video. Me in the South Pole Ice Tunnels

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Scientist Terry Benson Presents On “Innovations in Hot Water Drilling at the South Pole”

Jeffrey Donenfeld Science Leave a Comment

Last Austral Summer, I spent 3.5 months living at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. Among my many jobs on station, one of the most rewarding was the work I did with the Askaryan Radio Array drill and deployment teams. During my time working with the ARA, I got to spend some good time with Scientist Terry Benson. Here’s his excellent slide deck going over the science he’s working on at the South Pole, including details of the ARA Drill Rig I helped construct and test. Specifically, I helped construct the water tank overflow gutter, wired up the emergency stop switches, troubleshoot the main pump system, maintained the hose bindings, and tended to the drill as it operated. Innovations in Hot Water Drilling at the South Pole