How to get there - Ice Physics

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  • #1
How to get there -- Ice Physics

Something I have always dreamed of doing is working in the arctic and doing research on something in the physical sciences whether it be atmospheric sciences, glaciology or some sort of ice physics where they are taking samples of the ice and doing research on them living in the arctic (or antarctic) for long periods of time. I don't have very much guidance on how to get there at all. One thing I will be doing is going to University Of Alaska Fairbanks next year (hopefully as a 2ed year transfer as i am a first year community college student) and then be able to start getting involved somehow with the research that goes on up there regarding this. I am also trying to figure out if I should go into their PHYSICS MAJOR OR GEOLOGY WITH GEOPHYSICS EMPHASIS MAJOR. With the physics major I can specialize in space physics which sounds extremely interesting to me but seems to lack the outdoors part of the research I am looking for and I feel like it would all be inside. UAF also, has a ICE Physics graduate program in their geological sciences department that intrigues me and when I go to look on the faculty pages quite a few of them seem to go out into the field and do this sort of research. I just fear this kind of work is going to lack on the science end quite a bit. Also, one last thing, I have heard of Research Phds going to Antarctica for like a few years to do their research and it is like an actual program, has anyone heard of this or something similar?

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  • #2
Well if UAF has a ice physics grad program, I'd talk to them and see what they recommend. Also, talk to the undergrad departments you are thinking about and see what they recommend.

Off hand, I would suspect the work you are interested in doing occurs mostly in geoscience departments and not in physics departments. Possibly planetary science too.

I had a friend who worked at UAF (he still might) in the Geophysics Institute. He was studying space plasmas. Not sure how much outdoor work he ended up doing, but I do think he was in NZ for a bit and possibly Antarctica for work.
  • #3
The University of Delaware's graduate program regularly sends students to the antarctic observatory IceCube (UD actually runs the research there). They do a fair bit of high energy observational astronomy (detecting GMB's, etc.) but there are also fairly involved in the geophysics there. Of course you'd need to work with the professors who do it though.
  • #4
There is a University center at Svalbard that has several ice physics subjects, expeditions in the arctic included in the courses, which you can exhange to. [Broken]
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Also, one last thing, I have heard of Research Phds going to Antarctica for like a few years to do their research and it is like an actual program, has anyone heard of this or something similar?
Research is the primary reason most of those Antarctic stations exist, including the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station.

They also need cooks, people to haul the garbage, people to communicate with the rest of the world, lab technicians, etc. Competition for those slots is intense. A lab technician job that elsewhere would need someone with only an associates degree -- you'll need at least a bachelors degree to have half a chance, and a master degree would be better.

A former co-worker spent a winter at the South Pole. His wife was doing some research that was so hot (cold?) that the NSF contacted her. She came home one day and said "Honey, I'm going to spend a year at the South Pole. Do you want to join me?" (Implied: Or get a divorce.) With a masters degree and some coercion by the NSF he just managed to land one of those technical support spots that elsewhere a smart person with an associates degree would be able to do.

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