Join FIP PHYSICS MATTERS live colloquium Thursday, May 19 at 4 pm CET (10 am ET)
POLARQUEST – A sailing expedition to measure cosmic rays, and not only, beyond the Arctic Circle by Luisa Cifarelli and Ombretta Pinazza.
The scientific motivation of the Polarquest expedition performed in 2018 on board of the eco-friendly sailboat Nanuq around the Svalbard Archipelago will be illustrated. This spans from the measurement of cosmic rays at unprecedented northern latitudes where no systematic and accurate sea-level measurements have ever been performed to the investigation of the Arctic environment threatened nowadays by many factors, such as macro/microplastic pollution or temperature growth, to the air (with drone) and water (with multibeam sonar) exploration of unknown Artic areas. The complexity of the expedition and its scientific and technological challenges, together with a sense for adventure, will be briefly described. Emphasis will be given on new high-precision measurements of cosmic ray intensity vs. latitude, performed in 2018-2019 on board of Nanuq, then "on the road", in order to cover almost 50° of northern latitude. The permanent installation since 2019 of cosmic ray detectors at the Ny-Ålesund International Research Station on Svalbard and their current performance will be also presented.
Luisa Cifarelli is professor of experimental physics at the University of Bologna. She has carried out research in subnuclear physics and astroparticle physics at the major European laboratories. Member of the Academia Europaea and the Academy of Sciences of Bologna, honorary president of the Italian Physical Society, she has been president of the European Physical Society and of the “Enrico Fermi” Historical Museum of Physics and Research and Study Center (Centro Fermi) in Italy.
Ombretta Pinazza is a researcher at INFN Bologna and working at CERN as an expert in detector control systems. She is also an expert mountaineer, an amateur sailor and participated in polarquest expeditions.