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In a first, city students to take virtual tour of South Pole IceCube observatory

The initiative by Nehru Science Centre will enable students to interact with international scientists.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai |
January 13, 2015 1:27:01 am
icecube observatory The IceCube Neutrino Observatory. (Source: Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai)

Even as the Union Cabinet recently gave its nod for setting up a Neutrino Observatory (INO), one of the largest basic science project in the country, students and teachers from Mumbai will, for the first time, take a virtual tour on Tuesday evening of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the first detector of its kind in the world designed to observe the cosmos from deep within the South Pole ice.

Meant to inspire students to take up science, the initiative by Nehru Science Centre at Worli will also enable them to directly interact with eminent international scientists in real time.

“Encompassing a cubic kilometre of ice, IceCube searches for nearly mass-less subatomic particle called neutrino. IceCube was designed as a multipurpose experiment, enabling scientists and researchers to address several big questions in physics, like the nature of dark matter and the properties of the neutrino. IceCube also observes cosmic rays that interact with the Earth’s atmosphere, which have revealed fascinating structures that are currently not understood. Exciting new research conducted by the collaboration is opening a new window for exploring our universe. The initiative will be a good exposure for the students and will enable them to experience the world’s extraordinary scientific facility,” said Shrikant P Pathak, head of the education cell at Nehru Science Centre.

Around 300 physicists from 44 institutions in 12 countries make up the IceCube collaboration. The virtual visit is in collaboration with IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory, Antarctica and Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center, USA.

Initially, students will be exposed to the science of this facility, and then the IceCube observatory itself. Around 200 students and teachers are scheduled to participate in the programme. The Centre will first log into the website of IceCube for the tour and there will be simultaneous interaction with scientists working at the observatory.

“We had previously organised virtual tours to visit two biggest detectors of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CMS and ATLAS, in collaboration with CMS and ATLAS group of the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). Over 750 students and teachers attended the programme and interacted with scientists. Encouraged by the response, we decided to have a similar visit for IceCube,” said an official from the Nehru Science Centre.

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