The IceCube project, a 1 cubic-km neutrino observatory being built at the South Pole, transforms a billion tons of natural ultra-transparent deep Antarctic ice into an astronomical telescope. The telescope will exploit a subatomic particle called the neutrino as a yet unexplored cosmic messenger. The ice traps neutrinos and pinpoints their origin in the Universe. Neutrinos will reveal the extreme Universe of neutron stars, black holes, quasars and gamma ray bursts. They may divulge the particle nature of dark matter. Scientifically, we are entering a critical phase of neutrino astronomy at the South Pole. Although neutrino telescopes are designed as discovery instruments, their performance is often measured by the capability to detect those neutrinos that accompany the highest-energy cosmic rays. The origin of extragalactic cosmic rays is as yet a total mystery; their accelerators are likely to be powered by exceptional gravitational forces in the vicinity of black holes.
This proposal requests support for University of Wisconsin physicists and astronomers to participate in the scientific analysis of the initial data from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. In particular, this group plans for: Searches of point and diffuse fluxes of cosmic neutrinos;
Observation of neutrinos from gamma-ray bursts; Supernova detection; and Search for Dark Matter.
The observation of extra-terrestrial neutrinos would have broader significance, by finding the accelerators in the universe and thereby answering one of the 11 questions posed in the National Research Council study on the Physics of the Universe: "Where do ultra-high energy particles come from?" The IceCube E&O program at UW Madison has focused on three main areas:
. Providing quality K - 12 teacher professional development, and producing new inquiry-based learning materials that showcase ongoing research;
. Increasing the diversity of the science and technology workforce by partnering with minority institutions and programs that serve underrepresented groups; and
. Enhancing the general public's appreciation and understanding of science through informal learning opportunities, including broadcast media and museums
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