Classroom Antarctica takes to the skies

In February a group of school kids got a lesson in physics while experiencing the stunning beauty of a flyover of Antactica.

‘Classroom Antarctica’ is an annual event organised by retired academic administrator David Dodd and supported by the Laby Foundation. It sends University of Melbourne students and physicists on a chartered Qantas jet fly-over of Antarctica, where they run demonstrations for high school students and the general public.

The University of Melbourne’s Jacinta Den Besten, and PhD students Yuxiang Qin and Danni Holmes led this year’s trip. Demos included measuring the vertical direction of the Earth's magnetic field with a magnetometer and a Dip Circle from the School of Physics Museum, and measuring radiation with a muon detector and a Geiger counter.

The Qantas pilot, Captain Martin Buddery, an alumnus of the University of Melbourne, joined in some of the activities.

Check out some of the photos and videos collected on the trip below.

There will be a colloquium at 12pm, 27 March in the Medley Theatre, Redmond Barry Building where the team will talk about the trip and present the data they collected.

Airport departure board showing Antarctica charter flight
Ready for departure. Image: Jacinta Den Besten.
View over Antarctica from an aeroplane window
Yuxiang and Danni with Jacinta doing magnetic field and radiation experiments on the plane. Image: David Parer.
Three University of Melbourne physicists seated around scientific equipment on an aeroplane
Flying over a glacier. Image: Yuxiang Qin.
Classroom Antarctica Team in photo with Qantas captain on board aeroplane
Yuxiang, Danni, Jacinta, Captain Martin Buddery and David Dodd (antarctic explorer and historian), all University of Melbourne alumni or students. Image: David Parer
View of a volcano from an aeroplane window
Mount Melbourne, an extinct volcano near the Ross Ice Shelf. Image: Yuxiang Qin
A group of four people looking at a map of Antarctica on on aeroplane
Yuxiang, Danni, Jacinta and Captain Martin Buddery looking for the South Magnetic Pole. Image: David Parer.
The view from the plane. Video: Jacinta Den Besten.