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UW-River Falls to premiere planetarium show ‘Chasing the Ghost Particle’

February 28, 2014

The UW-River Falls Physics Department and the Society of Physics Students will present the full-dome planetarium show, “Chasing the Ghost Particle: From the South Pole to the Edge of the Universe,” at the UWRF Planetarium at 7:30 p.m., with refreshments available at 7 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 27, in Room 201 of the Agricultural Science building. The event is free and open to the public.

The show takes an incredible 30-minute trip from the most extreme places in the universe to inside the IceCube telescope, a huge detector buried deep in the Antarctic ice. Ice- Cube 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.

UWRF has been a member of the IceCube Collaboration and its predecessor AMANDA since 1998. Four Physics Department staff members and three students have deployed to Antarctica for research. More than 50 undergraduates have worked on these projects at UWRF in the last 15 years. The IceCube project was recently awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year by the British magazine Physics World.

“After years of effort, involving hundreds of people from Wisconsin and more nationally and internationally, we knew IceCube was a great story that we had to share,” said Jim Madsen, UWRF Physics Department chair, and associate director of the IceCube project leading the education and outreach efforts.

“Chasing the Ghost Particle” is a joint production of the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM).

For more information, contact Madsen at 715-425-3235.