The SOUTH POLE TELESCOPE

18 Apr

Only experts can fully understand the recent discoveries from the South Pole, but all of us can marvel at the implications.

The South Pole is an ideal place for observation of the cosmos because of its high altitude (thin atmosphere) and cold (little water vapour which can confuse signals). The telescope is designed to detect microwave radiation and can scan huge areas of the universe.

The aim, to investigate the nature of the universe, has been triumphantly successful recently and strengthened the importance of continued scientific research in Antarctica. Scientists from Harvard have found evidence of gravity waves, ripples in space-time that were formed in an infinitely miniscule time when the cosmos was created.

The presence of the gravity waves supports the theory of HYPERINFLATION, the idea that, at the start of the universe, there was a violent and hugely fast, period of expansion,

Professor John Kovac’s team recorded photons, which were pulled and squeezed by the gravity waves. This caused light packets to line up in a way that would not be expected if they had crossed the cosmos undisturbed by these gravity waves.

It is claimed that hyperinflation is the only way that these gravity waves could have been produced. An important implication is that our universe is not the only one formed in this way, there could be many, many other galaxies, all containing a similar number of stars.

I think that every confirmation of the validity of Einstein’s theory of general relativity is comforting.

This is further evidence of the value of scientific research in Antarctica. The research by men of science began with Scott’s two expeditions. Scott laid much emphasis on the scientific work.

Impossible for most of us to understand in any detail, but some may say this is part of the scheme of things inspired by the Almighty.

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4 Responses to “The SOUTH POLE TELESCOPE”

  1. Kristoffer April 19, 2014 at 3:07 am #

    Hello once more,

    Regarding your statement that “The research by men of science began with Scott’s two expeditions. Scott laid much emphasis on the scientific work,” I (and no doubt Sienicki) must say that this is totally wrong.

    Science and Antarctica go back farther than Scott. Here is a list of expeditions-which I have drawn from a list to be included in Sienicki’s book-of expeditions that preceded and ran concurrent to the Discovery expedition, a number of which included scientific work:

    1892–1893 — Carl Anton Larsen led the first Norwegian expedition to Antarctica,
    1892–1893 — Dundee Whaling Expedition discovered Dundee Island,
    1893–1894 — Carl Anton Larsen led the second Norwegian expedition to Antarctica,
    1893–1895 — Henryk Bull, Carstens Borchgrevink and Alexander von Tunzelmann,
    1897–1899 — Belgian Antarctic Expedition – led by Adrien de Gerlache,
    1898–1900 — Southern Cross Expedition – led by Carsten Borchgrevink,
    1901–1903 — Gauss expedition – led by Erich von Drygalski,
    1901–1903 — Swedish Antarctic Expedition – led by Otto Nordenskjöld and Carl Anton Larsen,
    1902–1904 — Scottish National Antarctic Expedition – led by William Speirs Bruce,
    1903–1905 — Third French Antarctic Expedition – led by Jean-Baptiste Charcot,

    As for Scott’s emphasis, let’s just say that Sienicki and I have a different interpretation of Scott’s 1909 speech to the RGS than Max Jones does.

  2. Isobel P. Williams April 29, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    The point is that Scott’s expedition laid a particular emphasis on science.The expeditions brief specifically included scientific and geographical research as well as exploration.The reason that the ‘Discovery’ expedition finally received finance from the government was that it had the backing (and financial contributions), from The Royal Geographical Society and The Royal Society.
    Scientific work for ‘Discovery’ was carefully planned. Professor John Walter Gregory, who ran the geology department at the University of Melbourne was the original lead for the scientific section. On the expedition five scientists (plus a laboratory assistant’ Clark) arrived at McMurdo Sound. These were: Louis Bernacchi (meteorologist)’ Hartley Ferrar (geologist)’ Thomas Vere Hodgson (marine biologist), Reginald Koettlitz (doctor and botanist), Edward Wilson (doctor,artist and zoologist).
    On the ‘Terra Nova’ there were seven scientists: Edward Wilson (Chief of Scientific Staff and zoologist), George Simpson (meteorologist), Griffith Taylor (geologist), Edward Nelson. (biologist), Frank Debenhams (geologist), Charles Wright (physicist) and Raymond Priestley (geologist). Apsley Cherry-Garrard was appointed Assistant Zoologist.
    Many of these men went on to make the most significant contributions to their specialities throughout their carrers.
    No other expedition placed this emphasis on science. In fact Scott might have achieved more in the way of exploration if his expeditions had not had such a big scientific brief. But this was the whole point on the expeditions.Unlike Amundsen, the British expeditions of the early 1900s were focussed on science as much as making records.

  3. Kristoffer April 29, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Yes, Scott’s two expeditions did lay some emphasis on science, to be certain. However, in my view, in recent years this emphasis has been grossly overstated.

    In this regard, though, Scott was preceded in bringing science to Antarctica by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition, the first expedition to collect geologic specimens from Antarctica, as well as the first to make an annual cycle of weather observations. Its scientific staff included:

    Georges Lecointe – Captain, executive officer and hydrographer
    Emile Danco – Magnetician
    Emile Racovitza – Naturalist (zoologist)
    Henryk Arctowski – Geologist, Oceanographer and Meteorologist
    Antoine Dobrowolski – Assistant meteorologist

    Also by the Southern Cross Expedition, led by Borchgrevink:

    Louis Charles Bernacchi – Astronomer and Physicist
    William Colbeck – Magnetic observer and Cartographer
    Hugh Blackwall Evans – Assistant Zoologist
    Anton Fougner – Scientific Assistant
    Nicolai Hanson – Zoologist

    Running concurrent to the Discovery Expedition were several expeditions with a scientific focus:

    Swedish Antarctic Expedition, first to recover known fossils from Antarctica (the Glossopteris fossil collected near the end of the Discovery expedition would go unknown for decades), staffed by:

    K. A. Andersson – Zoologist
    Gösta Bodman – Meteorologist and hydrographer
    Erik Ekelöf – Medical officer and bacteriologist
    Axel Ohlin – Zoologist
    Carl Skottsberg – Botanist
    José M. Sobral – sub-lieutenant, assisted in various scientific work

    Scottish National Antarctic Expedition:

    Robert Neal Rudmose Brown – Botanist
    David Wilton – Zoologist
    Robert Cockburn Mossman, John H. Harvey-Pirie – Scientists whose specialties I have not been able to track down

    First German Antarctic Expedition resulting in 20 scientific report volumes:

    Dr. Friedrich Bidlingmaier – Geomagnetist and meteorologist
    Josef Enzensperger – Meteorologist
    Hans Gazert – Medical officer and bacteriologist
    Dr. Emil Philippi – Geologist
    Ernst Vanhöffen – Biologist
    Dr. Emil Werth – Scientist whose specialty I have not been able to track down

    Third French Antarctic Expedition, resulting in 18 scientific report volumes:

    Jean-Baptiste Charcot – Commander of the and leader of the expedition, medical officer and bacteriology
    Ernest Gourdon – Geology and glaciology
    Lt. A. Matha – second in command of the expedition (naval officer) – astronomy, gravitation, hydrography
    J. Sub Lt. Rey – Physicist

    Following these expeditions came more expeditions besides Scott’s, with scientific components, if not outright scientific focus:

    Nimrod Expedition: I do not need to remind you, but it is a shame that it took decades to publish the meteorological results.

    Fourth French Antarctic Expedition, resulting in 28 scientific report volumes:

    L. Gain – Zoologist and botanist
    Ernest Gourdon – Geology and glaciology
    J. Liouville, M.D. – Assistant doctor and zoologist
    A. Senouque – Physicist

    Amundsen’s Third Fram Expedition: while not aimed at science explicitly, I would argue that geologically it achieved more than the Terra Nova Expedition. The fact that the Glossopteris fossil was rushed to reports while the rest of the geologic work was delayed in publishing until 1964 says something about the priority of scientific data from the Terra Nova expedition to the boffins back home. Contrast this to the geologic work of Aumndsen’s expedition, who geologic samples were used to determine that South Victoria Land was a plateau with a foundation layer extending to the Axel Heiberg Glacier, and probably contining through King Edward VII Land. This scientific work was completed fast enough to be published in Appendix III of Amundsen’s “The South Pole” – in November 1912.

    • isobelpwilliams May 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      I think it is time that ding-dong stopped!!
      You may remember that my piece was actually about the South Pole Telescope and the wonders of the discoveries about the universe. My short reference to Scott’s achievements in Antarctica produced (as any positive comment the man always seems to), a strongly negative response relating specifically to him. The point of the piece became lost.
      You say that Scott’s contribution to science has been GROSSLY overstated I feel I must respond to this, but following this entry, I but will not enter into further dialogue on the subject and hope that you can move on also.
      You endorse 7 expeditions that contributed to our knowledge of the continent. I agree. The comment in my piece related to Scott’s British National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-1904 when Antarctica was opened up for the first time. On this expedition Scott and his team actually got onto the plateau, they advanced over miles of Victoria Land. The Dry Valley was discovered for the first time. An expedition progressed far onto the Barrier. The tide crack separating land from the Barrier was recorded. Emperor Penguin chicks were found for the first time, proving, (against all expectations), that these animals had somehow evolved to breed in the caterwauling gloom of Antarctica. Geographical, meteorological and biological findings were made.
      These findings simply cannot be dismissed simply by saying that Scott’s contribution to science has been grossly exaggerated
      On the Belgian Antarctic Expedition, no advance was made onto the continent itself. The Southern Cross expedition was the first expedition to actually land on Antarctica but progressed only a short distance into the mainland. The Swedish, Scottish and German expeditions of the early 1900s again did not reach land.
      I hope we can agree to differ on this point.

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