Tuesday, February 23, 2010


OK, by popular demand are a bunch of links to info about projects I support down here. In a nutshell, I operate and maintain these projects that aren't big enough or don't have enough funding to deploy dedicated personnel on-site year-round. When things go wrong, I am the projects' eyes, ears, and hands at Pole to take care of troubleshooting and get the instruments back online.

A-111-S Pole research & instruments:

Dartmouth space physics/science programs

Univ. New Hampshire ELF Magnetometer

Stanford VLF studies

University of Florida ELF/VLF lightning studies

The NSF Ultraviolet Monitoring Network
UV Monitoring

The CosRay neutron detectors

Augsburg search coil magnetometer

Univ. of Nagoya All-Sky Imagers at Pole

UNAVCO geophysical/seismic research

IRIS/PASSCAL geophysical programs

In addition to this gig as a Research Associate (a.k.a. science tech) I'm also the fire brigade leader, a dishwasher (doing my turn today, in addition to all my science checks), a housekeeper (cleaned the summer camp gym-a total sty-yesterday and do weekly "house mouse" cleaning duties), a fuel technician (helped roll up the fuel line from the flight deck to the fuel arch yesterday, too), and whatever it is that needs to happen around station. Our contracts have the provision "Other duties as assigned", which makes it kosher to do whatever is necessary around station, no matter how many hours it ends up putting on your time card. We're contracted to 54 hours of work per week, 6 days per week, but I work every day and average about 85 hours per week. Unfortunately, that's just salary and there's no overtime pay or comp time! Simply put, I have no lack of things to keep me occupied while at Pole.

The sun is getting lower and the shadows longer, though we haven't had direct sunshine in a few days due to some fairly thick overcast. The temperature got back up into the -20s F yesterday, but once these insulating clouds disperse the temperature will probably plummet.

"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."
~Carl Sagan

"I said. 'I always tend to assume there's an infinite amount of money out there.' "Might as well be," Arsibalt said, "but most of it gets spent on pornography, sugar water, and bombs. There is only so much that can be scraped together for particle accelerators."
~Neal Stephenson, "Anathem"


Becky said...

So how many projects would have to be running to hire another tech?
I was talking last night about what would happen if the Pole facilities burnt down. How fireproof is the new station and do they have contingency plans for a winter evacuation, or would we be shipping out a bunch of corpsicles come spring? Maybe an airdrop of supplies to build new shelter?
I know that with you on the job the station is safe from immolation!

tad said...

You're blinding me with Science!
Had to work in the Dolby reference there. It is really cool to see all the different projects you work on. Hope the winter season continues to go well.
Tracy (SP DA 2007/2008)

EthanG said...

B, no clue about when Sci. Support would increase staffing... New station is probably up to regular fire codes, but still full of normal Class A flammables like any other building. We fall back to B1 pod first, then some outbuilding(s), and beyond that evac would depend upon the temperatures.

T, good to hear from you.