Alumnus Tim Murray, 2002
I started out working on the Enhanced Hot Water Drill, designing the electrical closet configurations to adhere to NEC code. I spent most of the 1.5 years on the drill designing and implementing the RS-485 control system. Keep in mind, this is the largest hot water drill ever made, approximately 10 million dollars worth of equipment and labor, the project has an estimated funding of 275 million. The drill consists of about 20 cargo containers retrofitted with hot water heaters, high pressure pumps, motor drives, all to deliver 200gpm of 200F water. There were about 800 sensors in the system that I integrated to a central control computer. We spent about 1.5 years building the drill at PSL in Stoughton, where the Fermi lab was originally going to be built, now it has a synchrotron radiation center.
The drill has shipped already to the South Pole and has already drilled its first 2.5km hole in which a string of Digital Optical Modules has been lowered. These modules are deep in the ice awaiting Muon radiation caused by rare interstellar neutrino collisions. Eventually there will be 80 strings in the ice, comprising an array of light sensors that will be able to sense the direction and energy of incoming neutrinos. The telescope is used like any other, except with neutrinos instead of photons. As you know, neutrinos are so small they can travel light years through lead without ever hitting an atom. They also have no polarity and hardly any mass, so they are not affected by gravity or magnetic fields. One can see farther out into the universe with neutrinos than any other cosmic ray.
The last six months I have been working on developing the cabling systems used for the strings. I have written request for proposals for the cables and assemblies. I am also working on IceTop wiring, which is what the attached photo shows. Ice Top tanks are at the surface to filter out our local suns neutrinos.
I am probably heading to the South Pole this year, in November. I have also worked with some other Platteville grads, namely Brian Pechan and Chris Sherwin, who both work at PSL. I am actually contracted through bit7 inc, in Madison, Wis.