Campus History

Many Happy (and Chilly) Returns

Charles Bently

UW-Madison Archives S09929

Benjamin Franklin was right. Taxation is an absolute certainty in life — even life near the South Pole.

Fifty years ago, UW researcher Stephen Den Hartog found himself on the bottom of the world when the time came to fill out his Form 1040 for the IRS. This couldn’t have been a great surprise, because Den Hartog had spent several seasons on the southern continent. Den Hartog Peak (near the Ramsey Glacier) is named in his honor. (Though they shared a family name, it’s unlikely that he claimed the mountain as a dependent.)

The UW knows ice sheets. Several researchers have made names for themselves in the Antarctic, including Charles Bentley, who was part of the team that made the first overland traverse of Western Antarctica in 1957, and in the 2000s, he served as principal investigator on an ice-core project that set the record for the deepest core ever drilled out of a glacier.

The UW continues to have an important presence in Antarctica, and it continues to dig deep holes in the southern ice. The university leads the IceCube Collaboration, which runs a vast observatory set up at the South Pole to detect neutrinos. That detector is made up of 5,160 modules embedded in a cubic kilometer of ice.

In September, IceCube’s principal investigator, UW physics professor Francis Halzen, won a 2015 Balzan Prize for his work in astroparticle physics. (It’s worth 1 million Swiss francs, which will almost certainly have an effect on his taxes.)

Editor’s Note: In the original, print version of this article, the subject of the photo was mis-identified as Charles Bentley. We thank his daughter, Molly Bentley, for catching our error.

Published in the Winter 2015 issue


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