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What happened in the very first moments of the tiny, but massive event? The first million years? Find out at the next Deep Talks.

It all started nearly 14 billion years ago when a singularity began expanding. Called the Big Bang, that tiny event would become a universe filled with planets and stars and intergalactic gases and comets and … well, a lot of other things. And it all happened in “a cosmic blink of an eye.”

To find out more about the Big Bang, join Mark Hanhardt for his Deep Talks presentation “The Big Bang and the Fate of the Universe” Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, 160 W. Main Street in Lead.

“The Big Bang was a very small and very massive event. We don’t know exactly how it happened, or how we got here,” said Hanhardt, experiment support scientist at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. “But the character of the universe likely was decided in the first few seconds.”

In his discussion, Hanhardt will walk through the very first seconds of the universe all the way to the end, with a brief stop in between to discuss the universe as it exists today.

In his role at Sanford Lab, Hanhardt works closely with scientists on multiple physics experiments underground and on the surface. As a Ph.D. student at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Hanhardt works on the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR), a low-energy accelerator.

Deep Talks: The Big Bang and the Fate of the Universe begins at 5 p.m. with a social hour; the talk begins at 6 p.m. Free beer from Crow Peak Brewing Company in Spearfish is available for those 21 and older. Deep Talks is sponsored by Sanford Lab, the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, Crow Peak and First Interstate Bank.

Deep Talks is a lecture series created by the Sanford Underground Research Facility and the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center. The event is held the second Thursday of each month, October through May. Deep Talks is free to the public. Donations to support community education are welcome.

Sanford Lab is operated by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) with funding from the Department of Energy. Our mission is to advance compelling underground, multidisciplinary research in a safe work environment and to inspire and educate through science, technology, and engineering. Visit us at