Episode 13: That Which Lies Beneath The Ice with Andrew Johnstone

Hey everybody. What’s the biggest, coolest thing you can think of? Is it Ice Cube?

goodbye little sensor, you’ll never see the sun again. Have Fun with all the Shoggoths down there.

If it was Ice Cube, the One Kilometer squared cubic neutrino detector buried 1 mile under

the surface of a glacier on the continent of Antarctica, give yourself a gold star. If you were thinking of Ice Cube, the rapper and movie star, he’s pretty cool but you were only correct in the phonetic sense.

So. To talk to us today about the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory, I’ve invited on the socrates of podcasting: Andrew Johnstone. Andrew is the Host of the Podcast Squared Podcast. He’s quite clever and very silly.

Ice Cube

Today We’re going to talk about neutrinos. To help us explain how a sheet of ice can be used to see the subtlest particles in terms we can understand (specifically, in terms of ducks), I’ve invited my old friends Ken Clark and Laura Gladstone.

It’s a good show.

Please note: After the bunny song at the end of the show, I’ve appended a bunch of the very silly conversations we had. It turns out that there are lots of silly things which can be said about antarctica.


Physicists: Ken Clark, Laura Gladstone

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Transcript: Ep_13_That_Which_Lies_Beneath_The_Ice

7 thoughts on “Episode 13: That Which Lies Beneath The Ice with Andrew Johnstone

  1. Cthulhu? Sorry, the podcast title had a Lovecraftian vibe to it. That and i’ve been listening to the HP Podcraft podcast alot too. :)

  2. If one could modulate a neutrino stream, would it be a good way to communicate a “hey, we are here” message? What method could be used to modulate them? Do neutrinos exhibit gravitational lensing, or are they just too small in mass?

    • hey steve.
      I guess you could modulate a neutrino stream, by generating them in pulses. you could turn a nuclear reactor on and off, or even use a particle accelerator. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a way to filter a signal of neutrinos in any kind of way once it’s been produced.

      neutrinos will also exhibit gravitational lensing, but they won’t lens in exactly the same way that light will. but they do feel gravity. everything feels gravity.

  3. Hey, I need to know more about neutrinos: there is a lot of ballyhoo about how fast they can travel. I want to know how slow they can travel. They aren’t massless, so they don’t have to travel at c.

    Also, you did mention that neutrinos are created in lots of reactions and just sort of “stay there.” But, really, doesn’t the number increase continuously? How dense can this neutrino flux get? Hasn’t there been enough time since the big bang to create a ferocious background of neutrinos?

    Last thing for now: black holes can certainly eat neutrinos, because they eat everything. But, can they remove a significant percentage of them? I guess neutron stars can crunch a lot of them, too. Or, are they not dense enough?

  4. Hey, you were talking about how Cherenkov radiation is bluish – why is it blue? Has it got to do with the speed of light in water? Would it be different wavelengths in other mediums?

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