The McMurdo Cosray Laboratory - 1960

the cage

Above, the first cosray lab at McMurdo, behind the later location of the Thiel Earth Sciences Laboratory/FSTOP building, seen here newly erected at the end of the 1959-60 season. Marty Pomerantz's first involvement in the polar regions was not here but in Greenland, where he set up his first cosray laboratory near the top of P-Mountain, just south of Thule Air Base, during IGY. Marty had also been involved with cosmic ray monitoring from balloon-based and ship-based platforms, but after IGY he was approached by NSF regarding the installation of stations in the Antarctic. And the rest is...well, history.

Hugo at McM

The building in the above photo, which was completely shielded with copper mesh like a Faraday cage, had been test-erected at the Coast Guard station at Curtis Bay near Baltimore, and shipped to McM before the 1960 winter. The first winterover was physicist Hugo A. C. Neuberg, seen at right studying plans of the building's interior (left). monitor those neutrons closely!Hugo had previously wintered at Ellsworth with Finn Ronne and John Behrendt during IGY (Hugo went to the ice again in 1976-77, and I was fortunate to meet him at the predeployment conference). Marty Pomerantz was a bit disappointed with the slow pace of assembling the building, tiling the floor etc., and setting up the equipment...but eventually it got into operation before the end of the winter. At that time the data reduction process back at Bartol was manual, involving 5 full-time people for the 2 stations at Thule and McMurdo.

Below, another photo of the building during the 1960-61 summer, before it was replaced with the current building on the other side of Observation Hill...to get away from interference from the new nuclear power plant just up the hill. The monitors in this building and the new one were operated concurrently for a period to coordinate the baseline data. This structure was then disassembled and later reerected at Pole in 1964.

in the wrong place at the wrong time

meet big Bill
Hugo (right) is with William W. Fairchild, the 1961 w/o cosray observer, at the neutron monitor.
Sir Charles
Here, Hugo (right) shows Sir Charles S. Wright the neutron monitor data. Sir Charles Wright was the physicist with Robert F. Scott's Terra Nova 1910-13 expedition (more about Sir Charles).
Hugo Alfred Carl Neuburg passed away on 16 December 2010 (obituary).

Page sources: US Navy cruisebooks...DF-60 (top 3 photos) and DF-61 (bottom 3 photos)