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Hello, my name is Jason Petula and I teach Astronomy and Earth Science at Tunkhannock Area High School. Tunkhannock is located in the heart of the scenic Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. I feel fortunate to work in a beautiful setting with a very supportive community. When not at work, I pursue many personal passions...the favorite of which is playing Spanish guitar.

I earned my Bachelors degree from the Pennsylvania State University and my Masters degree from Temple University. While attending university, I obtained an intense curiosity about the diversity of the world and human nature. This curiosity led me to travel extensively through all six inhabited continents. The most exotic adventure I undertook was flying one way to Peru and returning home overland. The greatest insight gained from my travels is that there are more similarities between people than differences.

The opportunity to visit Antarctica is very exciting. I am anxious to get involved in the science research and its integration into the classroom. This program is unique in the fact that I will be both a teacher and a learner. I eventually intend on earning my doctorate in either education or science. Involvement and exposure from this program will help me with that decision. Regardless, teaching is what I love most and will continue to do so for the rest of my career.

Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA)
Dr. Robert Morse, The University of Wisconsin

Scientists believe that neutrinos are produced from exotic and violent cosmic objects in the universe. Neutrinos, which were first postulated to exist by Enrico Fermi, are difficult to detect due to their neutral charge and negligable mass. Neutrinos can pass right through large amounts of matter without interacting at all. In fact, trillions of neutrinos are passing through your body right now, every second!

Neutrinos cannot be seen, but they can be detected indirectly when the interact with the nuclues of an atom found in a water molecule. When a neutrino interacts with a water nuclei, a mid-sized parcticle called a muon is ejected in the same direction of the original neutrino. The muon that emerges is very energetic and moves at a speed very close to the speed of light in a vacuum (c). The speed of light in ice is less than the speed of light in a vacuum, so that means the muon travels through the ice at a speed faster than the light can travel through the ice. Just as when a supersonic jet flies faster than the speed of sound, the muon creates a shock wave in the ice. However, instead of sound, the muon produces light called Cherenkov radiation. This light travels outward from the muon's track in a cone similar to the wake a boat produces traveling through water. This light is what AMANDA detects and uses to reconstruct the direction of the muon, and the original neutrino.

AMANDA consists of an array of several hundred Optical Modules, or light detectors. When a muon travels passes through AMANDA giving off Cherenkov light, the detectors records which modules see light, and precisely when the light is seen by each. In order for AMANDA to work correctly, it must be placed in a location that has an abundance of pure, uncontaminated water. The South Pole contains 9000 feet of ice, thus providing the perfect location for its construction. Now that the construction of AMANDA is complete, there are plans to build an even larger detector called ICECUBED. For more information, check out the
Amanda Web site.

Jason will be working closely with Mats Pettersson who teaches at Angeredsgymnasiet School in Goteborg, Sweden. Matts is the first Swedish teacher working at the The Swedish Polar Secretariat. Check out his home page at Angeredsgymnasiet.

Be sure to check out the images in the journal entries!

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