The Origen of the Universe at Fundación


From the South Pole to the Atacama Desert in Chile.

On Wednesday August 12, Dr. Denis Barkats gave a public talk at Fundación Ciencia para la Vida on his living experience at the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole station where he spent the whole 2006 winter season as part of his Postdoctoral studies on the “Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization Program (BICEP)”.

Dr. Barkats, who started with him dressed with the winter gear he used at the South Pole, currently holds a Commissioning Scientist position for the ALMA project at the Atacama Dessert. As he explained, “that means that I am part of team of scientists and astronomers who will test all the complex subsystems of the ALMA observatory (telescope, camera, calibration devices, software, analysis tools), and develop new systems as needed to bring the whole observatory to a scientific functional state”. This implies a wide variety of tasks from debugging all kinds of software to troubleshooting new hardware, writing data acquisition scripts, analysing data, giving public talks and preparing reports. “In addition, 25% of my time is dedicated to independent research in which I am continuing to analyse the BICEP observations”, he concluded.