MJD reaches major milestone

Ben Jasinski, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Dakota (USD), joined the Majorana Demonstrator (MJD) team just six months ago. Last week, he helped the collaboration reach a major milestone when the team finished assembling the first enriched germanium (Ge76) string.

“For me it’s exciting because I get to play a big role in the construction of the project and work with...

July 12 is Neutrino Day—Bring the whole family

Neutrino Day, the Sanford Lab's free annual science festival, is just around the corner. The 7th annual event welcomed over 1,000 visitors to Lead last year and will continue to build on the tradition with activities, displays, talks with scientists and special presentations for all ages.

A Chamber Mixer and free performance of "Space Science Musical" by the Dakota Children's Theater at the Historic Homestake Opera House precedes this year’s event on Friday, July 11...

Scholars, summer interns arrive

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The Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program has been sponsored for six years by 3M. For the last three years, the 3M funding has been supplemented with fellowships from the S.D. Space Grant...

“A sense of real engineering”

The fifth graders from Lead-Deadwood Elementary School sit in small groups on the floor or around tables concentrating on the makeshift hoists they are building. Using limited supplies, each group designs a “working hoist” then tests it. The varying results show different levels of creativity and different ways to resolve challenges. 

Peyton Reller really liked the project. “It’s like a puzzle,” she said. “We have to figure...

Neutrino Day talks explore neutrinos, Majorana; Abrams, Primack headline

The New Universe and the Human Future 

Modern cosmology—the study of the universe as a whole—tells us that everything we can see, all the stars and glowing gas clouds in galaxies, are only half of one percent of what is actually out there. Most of the universe is made of invisible "dark matter" holding all galaxies together and "dark energy" making the universe expand faster. Cosmological observations, such as the recent news on cosmic inflation, are revealing how the universe evolved and...

Neutrino Day draws variety of ages and interests

July 1, 2014

More than 800 people attended Sanford Underground Research Facility’s 7th annual Neutrino Day festivities Saturday, July 12, in Lead. The event featured exhibits and activities, talks with scientists a mile underground, a science musical, and presentations by leading neutrino and dark matter experts.

            “I like it all,” said one child. That certainly was the sentiment among other children and adults as well. Between activities at Sanford Underground Research Facility, the Opera House, Library and the Lead/Deadwood Middle School, there was no shortage of excitement.

            Two new attractions this year were the “Space School Musical,” presented by the Dakota Players and the Journey Museum’s portable planetarium.

            "I just think it's exciting that I'm here," said Justice Scherer, who attended Neutrino Day with his cousin Emily Tieman and their grandmother. "I really love space, it's one of my favorite things to research,” said Tieman as she prepared to go into the planetarium. “I was going to make a book about it in second grade, but we never got the time to do it.”

              Many visitors started the day at the Sanford Lab, making their way through information tables, demonstrations and hoist room tours. They also talked with scientists and the emergency response team nearly a mile underground; participated in science experiments with South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Steve “the Science Guy” Rokusek; and used a solar telescope.

Meanwhile, Davis-Bahcall Scholars and Sanford Lab interns operated nearly two dozen activities outside and inside the Opera House. At one table, children built marker bots, battery-operated robots made of yogurts cups and markers that doodled as they traveled the paper-covered table. One little girl said it was the best part of her day.

Other activities included using air pressure to manipulate the size of marshmallows and exploring basic circuits using conductive dough; a engineering design challenge that required participants to move a model of LUX, and creating bracelets from UV beads that change color in sunlight.

Science lectures at the Opera House attracted nearly 400 people. Many were young, aspiring scientists who took the opportunity to meet and talk to science experts. Zack Dugué, a 7th-grader from Rapid City, attended every lecture.

            "I'm caught between astrophysics and rocket science," said Dugue.

            Presentations started with Dr. Mary Kidd, a professor at Tennessee Technological University, who discussed the Majorana Demonstrator. Later, Kidd donned a bright orange Neutrino Day shirt to mingle with guests throughout the rest of the day.

            Dr. Miland Diwan had the crowd laughing at times with his lively and informative lecture about the strange behavior of neutrinos.  Dr. Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams closed Neutrino Day with a presentation about the role of human beings in the universe.

            “This was a great event,” said Primack. “Nancy and I would love to come back again.”

Click here to see pictures from Neutrino Day.

July 12 is Neutrino Day—Bring the whole family

June 4, 2014

Neutrino Day, the Sanford Lab's free annual science festival, is just around the corner. The 7th annual event welcomed over 1,000 visitors to Lead last year and will continue to build on the tradition with activities, displays, talks with scientists and special presentations for all ages.

A Chamber Mixer and free performance of "Space Science Musical" by the Dakota Children's Theater at the Historic Homestake Opera House precedes this year’s event on Friday, July 11. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m.; the show follows at 6:30 p.m. NASA and the Lead-Deadwood Arts Council sponsor the musical.

Neutrino Day events run Saturday, July 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day's keynote talk, by "View from the Center of the Universe" authors Dr. Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams, is at 3 p.m. at the Historic Homestake Opera House. Primack, a physics professor at the University of California Santa Cruz, is one of the world's leading cosmologists and cold dark matter experts, while Abrams is a cultural philosopher and writer.

The husband-and-wife team "use recent advances in astronomy, physics and cosmology to frame an exciting new way to understand the universe as a whole and our role in it." The lecture includes videos based on observations and supercomputer simulations, and looks at the connections between the new scientific cosmology and our human future.

Additional speakers are Dr. Mary Kidd and Milind Diwan. Kidd, assistant professor of physics at Tennessee Technical University, will present "Pushing the Limits of Detection: The Majorana Project" at 9 a.m.

At 1:30 Diwan, spokesperson for the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment, a collaboration between the Sanford Lab and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) near Chicago, Ill, will give his talk: “The Strange Wandering Life of the Neutrino.” All science talks are at the Opera House.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting will again host a Science Café at Bumpin’ Buffalo. “Weather Whys,” with Susan Sanders from the Central Region, Weather Forecast Office, Rapid City, S.D., begins at noon. Doors open at 11 a.m. and lunch is available.

Neutrino Day also offers a variety of activities. From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Journey Museum’s GeoDome—a portable planetarium—will take visitors on a journey through space from the comfort of the Lead-Deadwood Middle School.

Throughout the day visitors can visit the Sanford Lab Surface Campus and take tours of the hoist-room, chat live with scientists working underground and the Sanford Lab Emergency Response/Mine Rescue team, and witness wild science demonstrations by SDPB’s “Science” Steve Rokusek. 

Free parking and shuttles are provided on Neutrino Day to avoid any inconvenience caused by the construction on Main Street. Park free at the Homestake Visitor's Center (Open Cut) and Lead-Deadwood High School. Regular shuttles will pick visitors up and transport them to events throughout the day.

Major support for Neutrino Day comes from South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, Black Hills Power and Goldcorp Inc. Cosponsors include the Lead Chamber of Commerce, the City of Lead, Simpsons Printing, KEVN, New Rushmore Radio, the Lead Deadwood Art Center, the Historic Homestake Opera House and Black Hills State University.

A full schedule for Neutrino Day can be accessed online at http://www.sanfordlab.org/neutrinoday

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