A cubic kilometre of ice on Antarctica is used to search for neutrinos. These are massless particles, smaller than an atom and with high energy. They are extremely difficult to detect, but contain information on astronomical events such as exploding stars and explosions of gamma radiation, and are therefore highly interesting. The results obtained with ‘IceCube’ are used to study a variety of important issues in physics, such as the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. About 300 physicists from 48 institutions in 12 countries are involved in the experiment.
This all sounds spectacular, but how does it actually work? Physicist Dirk Ryckbosch describes it using a model (27 cubic metres, not of ice).