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Wednesday, December 08, 2021
UW-Madison will continue to operate “IceCube” thanks to renewed funding from the National Science Foundation.

UW-Madison will continue to operate “IceCube” thanks to renewed funding from the National Science Foundation.

University receives funding to operate telescope in South Pole

University receives funding to operate telescope in South Pole

UW-Madison announced the renewal of its funding with the National Science Foundation to operate a telescope known as “IceCube” buried under ice in the South Pole, according to a university news release.

The funding for IceCube will be $35 million over the next five years.

IceCube is located at the NSF’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and operates to detect high-energy cosmic neutrinos, the discovery of which has led to other scientific findings, according to the release. The telescope has been run by UW-Madison since its inception 15 years ago.

“This is extremely good news,” said Francis Halzen, a UW-Madison physics professor involved with the project, in the release. “Over the years we have come to know what it takes to successfully operate the detector.”

IceCube is a leading scientific instrument in the observation of neutrinos, according to the release. Neutrinos are lightweight particles created by energetic processes in the universe. Because they are so light, large instruments like IceCube are required to detect them.

“IceCube’s discovery of extraterrestrial neutrinos is a major breakthrough and a crucial first step into as yet unexplored parts of our violent universe,” said IceCube collaboration spokesperson Olga Botner in the release. “It also represents a step towards the realization of a 50-years-old dream—to figure out what cosmic upheavals create the ultra-high energy cosmic rays, detected at Earth with energies millions of times larger than those achievable by even the most powerful man-made accelerators.”

IceCube’s staff is composed of nearly 60 members in Madison. The five-year agreement between UW-Madison and the NSF will begin Thursday.

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