Fifty years ago, Dr. Ray Davis began building his Solar Neutrino Experiment nearly a mile underground at the Homestake mine. Neutrino Day will celebrate this historic moment with displays, live chats with scientists at Sanford Lab and Fermilab, and presentations that touch on current and future science at Sanford Lab.
Neutrino Day events run Saturday, July 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Keynote speaker, Dr. Ray Jayawardhana, Dean of Science and a professor of physics and astronomy at York University in Toronto, will give a talk at 3 p.m. at the Homestake Opera House. His presentation, “Neutrino Hunters: Chasing a Ghostly Particle to Unlock Cosmic Secrets,” Jayawardhana will take you on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of these elusive particles, while recounting a “captivating detective story with a colorful cast of characters and awesome cosmic implications.”
A graduate of Yale and Harvard, Jayawardhana uses many of the world’s largest telescopes to explore planetary origins and diversity. He is the author of Neutrino Hunters, which won the Canadian Science Writers Association (CSWA) Science in Society Book Award, and Strange New Worlds, which was the basis of the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s documentary “The Planet Hunters.”
Additional speakers include Dr. Steve Elliott and Dr. Harry Nelson. Elliott, of Los Alamos National Laboratory is the spokesperson for the Majorana Demonstrator project at Sanford Lab. His talk, “Neutrinos, Anti-Neutrinos and the Question, ‘Why are we Here,’” looks at the connections between matter, antimatter, neutrino mass and double beta decay. Elliott says it all started with Davis’s solar neutrino experiment, which was built in 1965 at the Homestake Gold Mine and ran for three decades. The presentation begins at 1:30 p.m.
At 10 a.m., Nelson, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and an expert in dark matter research, will present “Touch the Dark.” The talk will focus on the search for dark matter at Sanford Lab and other laboratories around the world. Nelson is a researcher with the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment and spokesperson for LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next generation dark matter detector. All science talks are at the Opera House.
Throughout the day, visitors can participate in activities for kids of all ages at the Opera House and Manuel Brothers Park. At Sanford Lab visitors can tour the hoist-room (no open-toed shoes allowed), view displays, and participate in wild science demonstrations with “Science” Steve Rokusek of South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Live chats with scientists from Sanford Lab and Fermilab will be held at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center (SLHVC) and there will be a geology demonstration on the observation deck. Guests may also tour the Visitor Center’s 3,000-square-foot exhibit hall and see the astonishing view of the Open Cut.
Two special events precede Neutrino Day. On Friday, July 10, students from Black Hills State University will perform a choral composition inspired by the sounds of the underground. The composition was written by BHSU music student Jesse Dunaway. The performance begins at 5:30 p.m. Emily Graslie, host and writer of YouTube’s “The Brain Scoop,” will give a talk about the relationships between art and science at 6:30 p.m. The Rapid City native is also the Chief Curiosity Correspondent at Chicago’s Field Museum.
Visitors can catch shuttles at the Visitor Center and the Opera House (public parking is not available at Sanford Lab). Shuttles will pick visitors up and transport them to events throughout the day. Food vendors will be located in Manuel Brothers Park.
A full schedule of events can be found at www.sanfordlab.org/neutrinoday
Major support for Neutrino Day comes from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Black Hills Power, Black Hills State University, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Coeur Mining and Rushmore Media. In-kind sponsors include Simpsons Printing, KEVN, Duhamel Broadcasting and KDSJ. Sanford Lab partners with the following organizations to present Neutrino Day: The City of Lead, Lead Area Chamber of Commerce, Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, Lead-Deadwood School District, Historic Homestake Opera House, Black Hills Mining Museum, Deadwood-Lead Economic Development Corporation and the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce.