Breakthrough discovery supported by UW-River Falls physics researchers featured in international science journal

March 10, 2021 – Headlines in the international journal of science, Nature, are of keen interest to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and its physics faculty.

Researchers from the UWRF Physics Department, including Associate Professor Suruj Seunarine and Professor Glenn Spiczak, contributed to a significant, albeit complicated, astrophysics discovery  published today in Nature as a result of their work with the IceCube Collaboration. UWRF Professor Rellen Hardtke is a former member of IceCube.

The IceCube Collaboration currently includes 300 people from 53 institutions in 12 countries, a group of scientists, researchers, students and others who’ve worked together to build and operate the world’s largest neutrino detector which recently played a significant role in confirming a 60-year-old particle physics theory.

“To be recognized among the world’s leading scientists and researchers is a distinction we’re proud of at UW-River Falls,” said Dean Yohnk, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our faculty have achieved groundbreaking research with their commitment to excellence and discovery and our students have benefited greatly as a result.”

UWRF’s involvement with IceCube has been impactful for students and faculty. Well over 100 UWRF students have participated in IceCube research activities, several of them making the trip to Earth’s geographic south pole where the telescope is situated, embedded in a cubic kilometer of the icecap, the largest most transparent medium on the planet.

“We are able to engage UWRF students in research at the frontier of the field of neutrino astrophysics including having them collaborate with some of the world's experts on neutrinos,” said Seunarine. “Students work on a wide range of research projects, from pure theory to hands-on builds and even work at the South Pole.”

“UWRF students learn valuable lessons in how to work independently as well as work within a large multi-national collaboration,” said Spiczak. “These experiences find students sharing expertise, acquiring and analyzing data and presenting results.”

Each year UW-River Falls hosts a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research experience for undergraduates in which students are provided paid internships in a summer astrophysics research program, including a road trip to Madison for a week-long astrophysics bootcamp where they learn firsthand from the experts.

For more information about the IceCube Collaboration and the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center, visit

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