The answer is a place where “summer” means very brief forays above freezing temperatures: Antarctica, the most mysterious of the earth’s continents, a paradox of barren land surrounded by teeming waters.
Antarctica — specifically, the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station — is the home of the NSF-funded International Graduate Training Course in Antarctic Marine Biology, an exceptionally selective and enduring program for would-be polar scientists.
“It was the first formal graduate training program held on the seventh continent. No group of graduate students had ever been to Antarctica before on this scale,” says Donal Manahan, founder of the program and director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
Manahan and a small group of colleagues have been accompanying some of the world’s best young biologists to Antarctica since 1994. More than 200 faculty and students representing 30 nations have participated to date.
In 2010, anyone can follow along.
From January 4 to February 1, visit this blog for a look over the shoulders of polar scientists as they study the marine life that surrounds Antarctica. One of the group’s biggest goals: learning to work in teams to understand and predict the reaction of living things to climate change.
“It’s really a moon shot of a field trip, in some ways. You bring very bright people and you plunk them on the moon for the first time. What would you discover?” Manahan asks.
Some will make discoveries that will start them on a brilliant career. Some will decide that polar science is not for them. All will have a life-changing experience on the “highest, driest, windiest” continent, as Manahan describes it.
Check summerinantarctica.usc.edu regularly for dispatches, photos and videos from Manahan and the program’s students.
To learn more about the NSF-funded training program, visit antarctica.usc.edu.
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A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
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A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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