Cold snap brings back memories of the South Pole - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cold snap brings back memories of the South Pole


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Many of us are trying to forget about these sub-zero temperatures but for one area professor they bring back some fond memories of ground-breaking research.

"They open the station when it's 45 below," said Professor Jim Madsen.

Madsen knows what it's like to work in the cold and even though the welcome sign reads River Falls. Monday's temperature reads more like Antarctica.

"Right now it's -10 degrees but during the summer it is generally -25," said Madsen.

Antarctica is exactly where Professor Madsen has spent time working on the appropriately named Ice Cube project
"It's the biggest science experiment that's ever been constructed," said Madsen. "And what we've done is made this really strange telescope that is looking for a particle called a neutrino. So what we've done is turn the ice at the South Pole into a telescope to find out where these particles are coming from and how much energy they have."

The project has brought 42 universities together for the unique experience of researching at the South Pole.

"I think a lot of people don't realize that we have these sorts of things going on and that Wisconsin schools and Wisconsin companies are leading the way or playing significant roles," said Madsen.

With another trip to the South Pole planned for the fall you could call Wisconsin's record breaking low temperatures a sort of test run.

"The joke is well it's a dry cold at the South Pole," said Madsen. "So it's super dry and generally it's not so windy. The gear they give us is really good so if you don't have to take your gloves off or do any fine motor skills with your hands you can easily stay out all day long."

And while the temperature in River Falls Monday was actually colder than in the South Pole, working in Antarctica is bound to toughen you up to the elements a bit.

"One of the things I like to do to remind people I've been to the South Pole is I won't wear a jacket on campus," said Madsen.

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