Scientists from IceCube Experiment Meet in Aachen




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About 200 scientists from eight countries are meeting together from October 1 to 5, 2012, in Aachen, for the International Collaboration Meeting of the IceCube Experiment. RWTH Aachen Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg and Prof. Greg Sullivan, Speaker of the Experiment, will open the conference on Monday, October 1, 2012.


The IceCube Observatory lies under the American Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. After just a six year construction period and a decade of preparation the observatory was finished in December 2011. The largest particle detector in the world encompasses a cubic kilometer of ice that is filled with highly sensitive light sensors. They catch the traces of neutrinos from space, in order to get information about galaxies far away. During construction, scientists melted 86 boreholes two and a half kilometers deep into the ice and inserted cable trays that each had 60 glass balls. The balls surround highly sensitive light sensors, which collect the weak blue light that results from neutrino reactions. After inserting the sensors, the holes freeze shut. The technology remains undamaged during this process. The then measured signals are prepared in the central station and sent worldwide via satellite to the research institutes to be analyzed.

The project in Antarctica is operated by an international consortium of 36 research institutions with 260 scientists from eight countries. The National Science Foundation in the USA, which assumed the majority of the construction costs with 279 million dollars, heads the project internally. The contribution of the nine universities and research institutions is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Helmholtz Association, the German Research Foundation, and the involved universities, which made their basic equipment available. RWTH Aachen is represented in the project by the Experimental Physics Teaching and Reaching Area under the direction of Univ.-Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Christopher Wiebusch.