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Measure for Measure: we get down to business


We took our first measurements today (ed. 11/29/2010), and it was incredible to see what determination and a good set of minds can accomplish.  We worked out a lot of the problems in our measurement system, but we still have a little bit to go before we are entirely satisfied with our methods.

Our group, as you may well know, does not only consist of the people here in Antarctica.  We are very aware of the system contributions provided by those that, sadly, were unable to join us.

Our team is comprised of two specialties collaborating, both electrical engineering and mathematics.  I am part of the electrical engineering team.  The team is headed up by Dr. Furse, and is composed of myself, David Lubbers, and two other students, Erik Gamez and Jacob Hansen.  Erik, Jacob, and I are all electrical engineering undergraduate students.

If you have been following this blog, you will no doubt be aware that we have tried to carefully plan and extensively test our measurements prior to our presence on the ice.  Having arrived here and started the process of testing our methods here, we have found a few things that seemed exceptionally well done prior to our arrival.

Prior to our departure, Erik spent a lot of time testing and performing simulations regarding the behavior of four wire resistivity measurements.  These tireless efforts allowed us to quickly assess the quality of the measurements we were taking, and allowed us to locate any potential sources of trouble in our measurements.

We have an entire barrage of equipment for use in our measurements, and each item has specific settings that must be meticulously set and checked prior to each measurement to ensure we are performing our measurements correctly.  Fortunately we had a large set of laminated cheat sheet that were organized by Jacob Hansen.  These cheat sheets have proved a valuable addition to our experience here. 

Although it is too soon to know with certainty that the data we are collecting is reliable, we have worked through several of the inevitable kinks of a new measurement method, and are pleased with our initial progress.  We are hoping to have a mountain of data to sort through on our return, but at the moment we are happy to have started our measurement, and thankful for all the support we received prior to our departure.