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Press Release

This year, Sanford Lab’s Neutrino Day celebrates those people whose tenacity leads to amazing science discoveries. The free science festival takes place Saturday, July 8, in locations throughout Lead and includes a presentation on the discovery of gravitational waves, a phenomenon that confirmed Einstein’s General Theory of Reletivity.

The day opens with a practice Total Solar Eclipse Balloon Launch at 9 a.m. in Manuel Brothers Park. The launch is part of a NASA project that will see weather balloons ascend 100,000 feet into the stratospere from 30 locations in the United States during the August 21 eclipse. The teams will collect a variety of data.

“We always love Neutirno Day because it’s the one day of the year we get to come together with the community and share our excitement about what we do at Sanford Lab,” said Constance Walter, communications director at Sanford Lab.

Hoistroom tours begin at 8:30 a.m. Visitors must schedule their tour at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, 160 W. Main, Lead. launch will be held at 9 a.m. in Manuel Brothers Park, while all other activities begin at 10 a.m.

This year, Michael Landy, director of the Hanford LIGO Observatory, will give the keynote presentation at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at the Historic Homestake Opera House in Lead. Hanford was one of two LIGO facilities to observe gravitational waves.

“Discovering gravitational waves is akin to acquiring a new sense that allows us to listen to the universe instead of just looking at it,” Landry said in a Ted Talk. “It alters our perception and allow us to access things we haven’t seen before.

Dr. Bonnie Fleming, a researcher with the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) will also give a presentation on Saturday at 11 a.m. Fleming’s talk will focus on Ray Davis, whose pioneering neutrino research at Homestake Mine changed our understanding of neutrinos, as well as DUNE.

“Ray Davis’ work moved the field from understanding neutrinos to what neutrinos can tell us about the whole universe,” said Fleming, deputy chief research officer at Fermilab.

“DUNE research could lead to understanding the role neutrinos play in the universe, understand how and why they oscillate, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the birth of blackhole,” Fleming added.

Throughout Saturday, visitors can participate in activities for kids of all ages at Gold Rush Plaza (formerly the Wells Fargo Bank); tour the skies in the Journey Museum’s GeoDome Planetarium at the Opera House; visit the Yates hoistroom, view displays, and participate in wild science demonstrations with “Science Steve” Rokusek at Sanford Lab; and participate in live videochats with Sanford Lab scientists on the 4850 Level and at Fermilab at tge Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center. Guests can also tour the Visitor Center’s exhibit hall and see a geology demonstration on the observation deck overlooking the Open Cut.

Hoistroom tours begin at 8:30 a.m. Guests must sign up at the Visitor Center for a free tour then catch their scheduled trolley to Sanford Lab. Public parking is not available at Sanford Lab, so shuttles will pick up visitors beginning at 8:15 a.m. and transport them to events throughout the day. Food vendors will be located at the Visitor Center; other vendors will be at the Opera House.

A full schedule of events can be found at

Other Neutrino Day events:

Friday, July 7, 10 a.m.-noon

SDPB’s Midday: Innovation will broadcast live from Sanford Lab’s Davis Campus, nearly a mile underground on Friday, July 7. The broadcast, which focuses on Neutrino Day, will feature Landry, Fleming, Penniston and Mike Headley, executive director of the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

Friday and Saturday, July 7-8, 6 p.m.

The event officially opens Friday, July 7, with a reception at 5:15 p.m. and a staged reading of “now then again.” The play is sponsored by Lead’s Gold Camp Players and will run through July 8 at the Historic Homestake Opera House in Lead. Each showing begins at 6 p.m. Playwright Penny Penniston will give a talk and answer questions after the show on Friday.

Set in Fermilab, “now then again” theorizes how the future can impact the past. Although Penniston doesn’t believe people are destined to do things or that the future is inevitable, she does believe the future gives the past meaning. “It constructs the narrative that we tell ourselves about the past,” Penniston said.

Major support for Neutrino Day comes from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Black Hills Energy, Black Hills State University, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Sun Rae, LLC, Homeslice Media, KEVN, Duhamel Broadcasting, Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center and Simpsons Printing.

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 Sanford Lab at