2020-2021 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Read the latest information from NSF on coronavirus (COVID-19)
2020-2021 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Imaging the beginning of time from the South Pole: the next stage of the BICEP program

no photo available
A-149-S Research Location(s): Dark Sector.


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Paul Sullivan / Sheryl Seagraves / Leah Street

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. John Kovac
Harvard University
Department of Astronomy
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: Dark Sector.


This project continues the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP)/Keck/BICEP3 program of observing the cosmic microwave background (CMB) mm-submm radiation, while also initiating the phased upgrade to the BICEP array of four newly developed receivers. This upgrade follows the tradition of improving upon the previous generation’s detectors: the Digital Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI), the Small Polarimeter Upgrade for DASI (SPUD), and, most recently, the BICEP/Keck Array. During the 2022-23 summer season, we will carry out: 1) The deployment of the second BICEP Array receiver (BA2) operating at 150 GHz, and retro of the Keck receiver replaced by BA2. The assembly of the receiver will take place in the Martin A. Pomerantz Observatory (MAPO) control room and Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA) room. The new receiver will be characterized in the lab prior to installation in the mount. 2) Maintenance and minor upgrades to the ongoing BICEP3 experiment. 3) Winterover training to allow continued observations with BICEP3 and BICEP Array during the 2023 winter season.

Field Season Overview

DEPLOYING This season the science team will focus on the second phase of the BICEP Array deployment. Four winterover grantees will deploy to be trained by the current winterover staff on tasking to maintain the telescopes. This reduction in staff and tasking is being directed by NSF in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deploying Team Members

  • James Cheshire IV
  • James Cornelison
  • Marion Dierickx
  • Sofia Fatigoni
  • David Goldfinger
  • John Kovac (PI)
  • King Lau
  • Lorenzo Minutolo
  • Ahmed Mohamed
  • Lorenzo Moncelsi
  • Clement Pryke
  • Alessandro Schillaci
  • Benjamin Schmitt
  • Bryan Steinbach
  • Cheng Zhang
  • Silvia Zhang