Sunlight is widely regarded as the most abundant energy source on Earth.  It is clean, free, renewable, and it depletes no fossil fuels.For these reasons, scientists have spent many years developing ways to convert sunlight into a usable form of energy.  Current methods of conversion, however, are inefficient and expensive. Researchers at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion are working on the next generation of solar energy applications. They have developed a method to use visible light for hydrogen fuel production.

By Wendy Pitlick Black Hills Pioneer SPEARFISH — Officials with the Sanford Lab and Black Hills State University have announced plans to combine resources to create a $4.2 million Sanford Science Education Center on the BHSU campus. On Wednesday, the Sanford Underground Research Facility, which is owned and operated by the S.D. Science and Technology Authority, announced that it would donate $2.5 million to help renovate the Jonas Science building at Black Hills State University into the Sanford Science Education Center. Black Hills State University will add another $1.7 million to that.

Quick response (QR) codes are becoming ubiquitous. When read by a cellphone, these small squares of black square dots provide additional details on a product, service or activity. Now, a team of scientists from two South Dakota universities has developed an ink from unique nanoparticles to print covert QR codes.

Hands-on engineering activities are being developed and tested that showcase how the Sanford Underground Research Facility operates. While much of the scientific research of the underground lab in Lead, South Dakota is quite esoteric and difficult to convey by way of hands-on activities, there is plenty of engineering related to the facility’s operation that is highly accessible and engaging for high school, middle school, and even elementary school students.

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