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From Previous Years:

Immortality

Thursday, Jan. 29 2009 UTC

Despite the morning’s wind and low visibility, colleague Joanna just arrived from Berkeley hand-carrying some cables and a special surprise from Jerry at LBNL, carefully packaged in anti-static plastic and bubble wrap.

It’s the printed circuit board from one of our Digital Optical Modules, one which failed visual inspection and is therefore scrap for engineering purposes. I.e., a nice, flat, attractive paperweight. I’m touched, particularly because it has my name etched on it along with those of several of my current and former LBNL colleagues, and because I have just been told that all the the DOMs deployed in IceCube are thus enscribed.

Though it’s not quite a burial fit for a king (not to mention the fact that I’m still alive and kicking), our names entombed inside the polar ice cap will endure for many millennia, far beyond the current age of the Pyramids of the pharaohs. When some future civilization visits the barren ruins of earth and goes prospecting for technological artifacts in the polar ice, they will find the sigils which make up our names and wonder at their significance. Or, in a hundred thousand years, when the flowing river of ice finally reaches the ocean, they may rust free of their mutual tethers and drift the ocean currents… five thousand messages in spherical glass bottles to be found by whatever forms of life might remain to roam the seas or shores of future Earth.

Thanks Jerry and Joanna.