How to get there - Ice Physics

In summary, an academic with a masters degree and some NSF coercion can get a job at the South Pole as a technical support person.
  • #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 exchange to. [Broken]
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  • #6
TheKracken said:
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.

1. What is the difference between ice and water?

Ice and water are both forms of the same molecule, H2O. The main difference between them is their molecular structure. In liquid water, the molecules are able to move freely, while in ice, the molecules are arranged in a rigid crystal lattice structure. This is why ice is solid and water is liquid at room temperature.

2. How does ice form?

Ice forms when liquid water is cooled down to its freezing point, which is 0 degrees Celsius. As the temperature decreases, the molecules in the water slow down and come closer together, forming a crystal lattice structure and turning into ice.

3. Why does ice float on water?

Ice floats on water because it is less dense than liquid water. When water freezes, its molecules form a crystal lattice structure which takes up more space, making ice less dense. This is why ice can float on water, as the denser liquid water sinks below it.

4. How does the density of ice affect its properties?

The lower density of ice compared to water has several important effects. It allows ice to float on water, creating a layer of insulation that helps to protect the liquid water below from freezing. It also makes ice less dense than air, which is why ice cubes will float in a glass of water. Additionally, this property of ice is crucial for the survival of aquatic life during the winter, as the layer of ice on top of lakes and ponds acts as an insulator and allows life to continue underneath.

5. What factors affect the melting of ice?

The melting of ice is affected by several factors, including temperature, pressure, and the presence of impurities. Higher temperatures will cause ice to melt faster, while lower temperatures will slow down or even stop the melting process. Pressure can also play a role, as increased pressure can lower the melting point of ice. Impurities, such as salt, can also lower the melting point of ice by disrupting the crystal lattice structure and making it easier for the molecules to break apart and turn into liquid water.

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