Wisconsin's bitter cold reminds professor of Antarctica research - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin's bitter cold reminds professor of Antarctica research


RIVER FALLS (WKOW/WQOW) -- Jim Madsen knows what it's like to work in the cold, he's spent time researching in Antarctica.

The UW-River Falls Physics Department Chair worked on a project heralded "Breakthrough of the Year" by Physics World Magazine. "They open the station when it's 45 below," Madsen said. "Right now it's negative ten but during the summer it is generally negative 25."

Madsen says our current weather is bringing back memories of the aptly named "Icecube Project."

"It's the biggest science experiment that's ever been constructed and what we've done is make this really strange telescope that is looking for a particle called a neutrino, so what we've done is turn the ice at the South Pole into a telescope to find out where these particles are coming from," Madsen explained.

The project brought 42 universities together for a unique experience of researching at the South Pole. "I think a lot of people don't realize that we have these sorts of things going on and that Wisconsin schools and Wisconsin companies are leading the way or playing a significant role," Madsen said.

He has another trip to the South Pole planned for the fall and is considering Wisconsin's sudden chill a sort of test run.

"The joke is oh well, it's a dry cold at the South Pole, so it's super dry and generally it's not so windy," Madsen added. "The gear they give us is really good, so if you don't have to take your gloves off or do any fine motor skills with your hand you can easily stay out all day long."

But, that's coming from a researcher already toughened up to the cold.

"One of the things I like to do to remind people I've been to the South Pole is I won't wear a jacket on campus," Madsen said.

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