About Us

This AAART group led by Dr. Waraporn “Fhon” Nuntiyakul. She is a physics professor at Chiang Mai University (CMU) in Chiangmai, Thailand. In summer 2017 was her third summer at University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) in USA. She first came in the summer of 2015 in order to add cosmic ray science using neutron monitor data to the summer program at UWRF. Cosmic rays are highly energetic particles, primarily atomic nuclei, that are accelerated to nearly the speed of light in extreme environments in space. If cosmic rays originate from the sun, they are referred to as solar energetic particles, while those from outside our solar system are galactic or extragalactic cosmic rays. A cosmic ray that arrives at Earth will collide with a nucleus in the atmosphere, producing a shower of secondary particles that also interact and decay, resulting in neutrons that can be detected with monitors on the surface of the earth. The neutron rate in the monitors depends on the primary cosmic ray flux and geomagnetic location of the monitor. The rate is also sensitive to changes in magnetic field in the solar system due to solar activity. Cosmic ray detection with neutron monitors allows the study of space weather, which can produce storms that disrupt and damage technological and biological systems. From transferring her research knowledge to students and sharing research experience to IceCube collaborator in UWRF for three years (summer 2015-17), eventually she got a good opportunity to have a formal collaboration with IceCube working on astrophysics research as she ever dreamed. Her next dreams would be to provide an opportunity to bring Thai students/researchers/lecturers to work on research at the South Pole. This would open a new opportunity for polar science research or Antarctic research in Thailand.





















Figure  1.  Photos of discussing researches with students in UWRF: (a) Discussing simulation for NM64 and bare stationed at UWRF with two students, Laura Parmeter and Kyle Lueckfeld at UWRF during summer 2015. (b) Discussing simulation for 12 bares at the South Pole station with Mitchell Ahlswede and analyzing data collected on a latitude survey on the Swedish icebreaker Oden from Helsingborg, Sweden to McMurdo, Antarctica and back from November of 2009 to April of 2010  with Marium Asif in UWRF during summer 2016. (c) Discussing simulation for 3NM64 and 12 bares at the South Pole station to see the effects from surroundings with two students, Grace Zeit and Begad Elmelligy in UWRF during summer 2017.


What is she going to do to accomplish first small step of Antarctic research in Thailand?


She had worked at Chandrakasem Rajabhat University (CRU) where is an education university in Bangkok, Thailand for 11 years before moving  to teach at CMU where is the top-five research university in Thailand. During that time she was teaching some undergraduate students who were interested in Astrophysics and they were not in Physics major. The students had a research meeting every week and did small projects so that they had practical experience with the research program. She has attempted to find full grant to support two Thai students to attend the 10 week summer program in 2018 at UWRF. In preparation for this, she would give them some relevant basic background and give them some small research project. She would motivate the students to study English online and regularly discuss their work with collaborators at UWRF via Skype or Zoom. During introvert period of time in Thailand before attending the summer internship in UWRF where there will use English language in discussion.


























Figure 2. Group photos taken in Thailand with students from UWRF in 2015 and 2016: (a) Laura Parmeter and twelve students from Thai universities that are interested in Astrophysics research in Thailand. The visit was both scientifically and culturally successful, and Laura continues to do astrophysics research. She also deployed to Antarctica in January, 2016 to support UWRF taking over maintaining and operating the neutron monitors there. (b) Mitchell Ahlswede and professors from different science majors and different universities. They shared some research experiences together. Mitchell also attended and presented (orally) his work at the Siam Physics Congress (SPC) in Thailand, Jun 7-9, 2017.This conference is the most significant physics conference in Thailand.

She hopes that this way would enhance the international collaboration that has developed simulation of the response functions of the detectors at the South Pole. It will advance understanding of Space Weather by characterizing spectral variations of Forbush Decreases in the Galactic cosmic ray flux with those detectors. She has begun preliminary discussions on establishing broader student exchange collaboration, initially based on this project, with the UWRF. This has the potential not only to provide opportunities for Thai students to work on the detectors at the South Pole but also to expand the scale and scope of Antarctic research in Thailand.


What she would like to do in parallel to accomplish her goal is to develop a program at the education universities such as CRU or likewise to introduce Thai undergraduates to Antarctic researches. Since these students are primarily pursuing careers as high school teachers the hope is that this will ultimately result in a general increase in awareness of Thai people as to the worldwide effort to save Antarctica for scientific research. Specifically this will be done in collaboration with Professors James Madsen and Surujhdeo Seunarine of the UWRF who have an extensive program to promote undergraduate research involving the IceCube Neutrino Observatory and the neutron monitors at the South Pole.


Human never go far without science. We want to share our knowledge to young students in Thailand and inspire them to have scientific thinking.