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NTU Team Joined the ARA Observatory: Ultra High Energy GZK Cosmic Neutrino with Askaryan Radio Array
Professor Chen Pisin of NTU Department of Physics, the International Spokesman at the Press Conference of Antarctic Detection

National Taiwan University has just set another world record: the outstanding scientific breakthrough of Professor Chen Pisin’s great experiment in the Antarctica. The press conference, located in the Antarctic detection site, was also held at the NTU planetarium, jointly organized with the Leung Center for Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics on December 12th, 2011.

At the press conference in Taipei, Professor Chen Pisin introduced the ARA Observatory via satellite, which National Taiwan University joined with their great research team on the peak of the Antarctica. In order to be able to go to the Antarctica, Professor Chen has gone through thirty entries of health check-up to make sure that he can survive the -40 °C environment there. Moreover, Professor Chen drew a ROC national flag himself a day before the press conference to show the audience in Taiwan the waving national flag high on the Geographic South Pole, and it is also where people are celebrating the 100 anniversary of reaching the peak in history. This scientific project marks a significant breakthrough in the research area of Taiwan’s astrophysics. Also, it makes a beautiful coincidence with the 100 anniversary of reaching the Antarctic peak. Thus, it means a lot to National Taiwan University to have the opportunity of joining this ARA Observatory.

The first scientific project in the Antarctica in R.O.C. history: ARA Observatory
ARA (Askaryan Radio Array) Observatory is an international project jointly organized among the United Sates, Europe, Japan, and Taiwan. It is expected that ARA Observatory will constitute a super-sized square kilometer radio array with a hundred billion US dollars. This will be the greatest neutrino observatory in size. The term, ARA, is originated from the ancient Greek and Latin name of the Altar in the Antarctica. The telescope of this neutrino observatory is constituted of 37 antenna stations buried at 3000 meters altitude in the deep ice field in the Antarctica. The telescope can detect an area about a hundred square meters, receiving the message from the ultra high energy GZK cosmic neutrino under the thick ice field. With the great support from National Science Council and Leung Center for Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics of National Taiwan University, the Taiwanese team will provide 10 ARA antenna stations, over one forth in total, and conduct the development of the antenna. This thus made Taiwan an important role in this international scientific project. Professor Chen Pisin, also the chairman of Leung Center for Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics, is therefore announced to be the international spokesman to do the press conference.

ARA Observatory will establish the first antenna station on the peak of the Antarctica soon, and it is expected that there will be 37 antenna arrays constituted in the next four years. This super-sized telescope will definitely help the scientists a lot solving the deepest myth, such as the cosmic ray, the direct detection of the dark matter and the answer to the origin of the universe. Also, this super-sized telescope can provide the interaction data of the high-energy particles as well. What the scientists of the ARA Observatory project doing now will provide the world a better LHC (the larger Hadron collider) of CERN. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionize our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the universe.

Neutrino Telescope
It has been the Renaissance in the field of astrophysics for the past twenty years. All kinds of telescopes have been developed well, including radiofrequency, infrared rays, microwaves, and X rays. These innovative and highly advanced telescopes bring us the latest messages from the universe. However, light waves can be easily absorbed along with the condensed matters in the universe. And this is why the scientists have been seeking an alternative, the neutrino telescope, to detect the deepest in the immense universe. Neutrino is a very basic particle, which is so light that can proceed at the speed of light. There are origins of neutrino everywhere in the universe, which don’t get absorbed or blocked while crossing through the whole universe. Therefore, the scientists have been dedicating to the development of neutrino telescope recently.

In the 1960s, Askaryan, a prominent Soviet physicist, investigated and discovered the interaction of high-energy particles with condensed matters. He theoretically predicted the Askaryan Effect, a phenomenon whereby a particle traveling faster than the speed of light in a condensed radio-transparent medium produces a shower of secondary charged particles which contain a charge anisotropy and thus emits a cone of coherent radiation in the radio or microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This phenomenon is of primary interest in using bulk matter to detect ultra-high energy neutrinos and is similar to the Cherenkov effect.

Taiwan’s Contribution
The conductor of the Taiwanese team, Professor Chen Pisin, also the chairman of the Leung Center for Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics, has been promoting the ARA neutrino telescope in international conferences and important occasions over the years. With his efforts and launch, experts around the world thus jointly organized the ARA project in 2009. With the support and sponsor from the National Science Council and the Leung Center for Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics, the Taiwanese team lead by Professor Chen is the important role in this ARA project. Also, Professor Chen is thus announced as the international spokesman, which is a great honor. The Taiwanese team has been working on the design and the development of antenna detectors. They have achieved a great contribution in this scientific project, marking a significant breakthrough for the detection of neutrino messages. Also, the research team is still working on a way to establish and update the ARA radio array via computer simulation. Theoretically, they’ve broken through the traditional detection of neutrino messages.

To install the first ARA antenna detection, Professor Chen Pisin has just arrived the peak in the Antarctica on December 6 th, where the temparature is -30 °C degree, to do his scientific research. It is the first scientifc project on the Antactica in the R.O.C. history ever, which means quite a lot to Taiwan. During his research in the Antarctica, Professor Chen was invited by the US National Science Foundation to do a scientific workshop: High Energy Cosmic Neutrino Research in Taiwan in the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on December 11th. Professor Chen introduced the high energy cosmic neutrino in Taiwan, making another world record for Taiwan.

The 100th anniversary of reaching the Antarctic peak
It happened to be the 100th anniversary of reaching the Antarctic peak in 2011. In memorial of the Norwegian pioneer, Roald Amundsen, and the British explorer, Robert Falcon Scott, tourists, explorers and history-lovers around the world are getting ready to travel to the Geographic South Pole. The Antarctica is the seventh continent, and it is the last one found on Earth. Also, this is where there aren’t any aboriginals. It covers more than 14,000,000 km2, making it the fifth-largest continent, about the total size of the Mainland China and India. The thick Antarctic ice sheet covers about 98% of the Antarctica.

Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer, set off his first departure from Bay of Whales with his expedition in 1911. They arrived at the Geographic South Pole for the very first time two months later in the same year, and they were thus the first expedition reaching the pole. Amundsen’s strong competitor at that time, Robert Falcon Scott from the UK, arrived the South Pole from another route in 1912. Unfortunately, Scott’s expedition all died of the snowstorm on their way back to the UK. Therefore, in memorial of them, the scientific station on the Geographic South Pole is thus named as Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station after the two prominent pioneers. The ceremony was just held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of reaching the South Pole in human history on the peak in the Antarctica. The minister of Norway will attend this great event and make an opening for this anniversary on December 14th, 2011.

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