This is just a quick update post. I am trying to get into a habit of regular blogging, and I have a few things I'd like to get posted, so I am starting with a shorter post while I work on some of the other posts. The last week and a half has been pretty amazing. One of the final duties as an IceCube winterover is to make a couple of presentations at one of the collaboration meetings. Our collaboration meetings are like scientific conferences, but almost everyone participating is IceCube. We do invite a few other science speakers to give talks, but really the focus is to get everyone in the IceCube collaboration together a couple times a year in one location to make working together a little easier. The reality is we have around 250 people in our collaboration, and they are spread out all over the world. Most of what we do is done over email or phone calls, but sometimes, you can make things go so much faster face to face.
This year the IceCube Spring Collaboration Meeting was at my alma mater, Georgia Tech! Since my fellow winterover, friend, and colleague, Martin was going to be in town from Germany, a few other winterovers decided we would get together and have a camping trip up in North Georgia before the meeting. So Martin flew in a few days early, and along with 6 other winterovers (and one of their girlfriends), we spent a few days camping up in Black Rock State Park. After a year of working together in one of the most isolated places in the world, you tend to form some close friendships, and it turns out these friendships don't exactly just disappear when you get off the ice. So we had an amazing time and were able to catch up for a bit. After this Martin and I drove down to the GT campus. I'll be honest... I was super excited. Not only did I get to see my IceCube friends that I hadn't seen in a while, but also, I was able to hang out with some GT buddies again. While most of my grad student friends have graduated, I was able to chat with a few professors and a few other local friends.
The meeting went very well. I gave two joint talks with Martin, a public talk and a collaboration report. I also had a sit-down with some members of the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics where I showed a few pics and answered a few questions. Interestingly, I was able to meet up with a few family members as well. My dad's cousin and her husband, who found me on Facebook while I was at the South Pole, came to the public talk as did some cousins from my mom's side of the family. It was great to have family come and see one of my talks.
So all in all it was a pretty good week. Now that I am back in Huntsville, I have a ton of things I need to get done, but that is going to have to wait for another post!