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The Icecube Neutrino Observatory: Unveiling the Secrets of the Universe

UPDATE: How about we gather afterwards at Jerome's at the Inn on the Park across from the Capital See you there.


Join other fellow skeptics for this free upcoming lecture. Register at

A kilometer below the Antarctic ice lives a massive, high-powered telescope built to explore the secrets of the universe. In this Academy Evening talk, physicist and principal investigator of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory Francis Halzen discusses the ghostlike neutrino, a fundamental particle first formed in the first second of the early universe, and what it tells us about our galaxy and those beyond.

IceCube is designed to chase neutrinos coming from the distant universe. Neutrinos are extremely small particles that are almost undetectable, earning them the nickname “ghost particles.” They are expected to give us new information about some of the most powerful environments in the cosmos, expanding our understanding of black holes and exploding stars beyond what we have obtained from other types of telescopes.

The IceCube detector is comprised of 5,160 digital optical modules suspended along 86 cables embedded in a cubic kilometer of ice beneath the South Pole. Instead of detecting visible light, like most traditional telescopes, the IceCube detects neutrinos through tiny flashes of blue light, called Cherenkov radiation, produced when neutrinos interact in the ice.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory was completed in December 2010 after seven years of construction. It was built under an NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction grant, with assistance from partner funding agencies around the world. Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center at UW-Madison is the lead organization for IceCube, responsible for maintaining and operating the detector to maximize data quality and output.

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  • Ingrid

    For those who missed last night's talk and would still like see/hear it, it should be available on the Wisconsin Academy's website within a few weeks. (You can also check out previously given talks there.)

    February 12, 2014

  • Richard Gene N.

    Great presentation with terrific graphics

    1 · February 12, 2014

  • Henry S.

    (Imagine one obscenity placed here), I didn't realize that when I saw it in the Isthmus. I may just show up and hope someone else doesn't, but it sounds futile - (one more obscenity here). So it goes.

    February 11, 2014

  • Ingrid

    I hope that those who RSVPed that they were planning on attending this lecture *did* also register via the Wisconsin Academy website. It turns out they they have reached capacity, and are not allowing for additional registrations at this point. (See here:

    February 8, 2014

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