Chiang Mai University scholar to make history by joining South Pole project
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Chiang Mai University scholar to make history by joining South Pole project

Chana: First Thai to join project
Chana: First Thai to join project

A Chiang Mai University researcher will become the first Thai to join 350 other researchers from 14 countries this month in a project called "IceCube Upgrade" at the South Pole -- a key frontier of scientific exploration.

The project, a collaboration between Thailand and the United States, will be carried out at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, according to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, or simply IceCube, is a neutrino observatory at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica.

IceCube is a cubic-kilometre particle detector made of Antarctic ice located near the station. It is buried beneath the surface, extending to a depth of about 2,500 metres.

Starting in 2013, Thailand initiated an Arctic and Antarctic research project as recommended by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

The project covers a wide range of study areas, including geology, biology, physics, astronomy, microplastic, climate change and the melting of polar ice.

The Information Technology Foundation under the Initiatives of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has since been coordinating collaborations between various Thai research organisations and universities and their international counterparts, including those in China, Japan and South Korea.

Chiang Mai University, for one, has become a part of the IceCube collaboration. And most recently, the university has participated in the IceCube Upgrade, an engineering technique-based research project.

Chana Sinsabvarodom, a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Civil Engineering at Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Engineering, will be the first Thai researcher to work at IceCube in the South Pole, where the average temperature in the warmest season is minus 28C.

The average temperature is as low as minus 60C.

He will travel there in an aircraft modified specifically by the US Air Force for transporting researchers and scientists to and from the South Pole, where the team can work at most for four months a year due to the extreme weather conditions.

In another development, Ajcharaporn Phakwan, a cosmic ray and solar energetic particles researcher at Mahidol University, will later travel with a research team at the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) for a project in which they will observe cosmic ray variations in different latitudes, from New Zealand to South Korea.

These two Thai researchers are expected to return home at the end of their projects with advanced knowledge in science and technology, including that related to operating a research project in extreme weather conditions, fluid-assisted boring technology and space weather forecasting.

This will benefit the further development of advanced technology.

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