Sophomore Kyle Jero's résumé already lists an uncommon academic experience: "IceCube Neutrino Telescope Researcher."
"This past summer I worked on calibrating a video camera to be deployed two kilometers deep in the Antarctic ice," recalls Kyle, a physics major. "Now I am working on better understanding cosmic rays and the muons they create, so I can begin working on a program that recreates the creation of muons and tracks them down to the surface where the IceCube detector is located."
Working with Dr. Jim Madsen, a professor of physics and a research scientist with the internationally renowned IceCube project, Kyle's unique lab experiences outside of the classroom have given him an opportunity of a lifetime.
Madsen has made numerous treks to Antarctica to work alongside international scientists, providing an extraordinary research opportunity for his students. The IceCube project, by drilling deep into the polar ice, pursues high-energy neutrinos—mysterious particles produced by the decay of radioactive elements—to help reveal the story of the universe.
"I really want to bring this experience to a wide range of students," says Madsen, who has incorporated IceCube research into his physics courses as well.
Soon after enrolling at UW-River Falls, Kyle took advantage of a chance to participate in summer IceCube research in Sweden. The opportunity to work with Madsen, he says, has expanded his educational horizons and broadened his academic studies.
"Dr. Madsen has helped me grow as an individual by giving me the chance to do independent research that will benefit me and my career as I go forward," says Kyle.