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STEAM Café: Deep Science at America’s Underground Laboratory


June 20, 2023 • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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Join Dr. Jaret Heise, science director at Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), from 6-7 p.m. MT on Tuesday, June 20, at the Hay Camp Brewing Company (601 Kansas City St, Rapid City) as part of the South Dakota Mines’ Summer 2023 STEAM Café.

As the deepest underground laboratory in the United States, the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead hosts world-leading experiments and gives South Dakota’s university students and faculty members the opportunity to participate in this cutting-edge science. Dr. Jaret Heise, the science director at SURF, will present an overview of the science taking place a mile beneath our feet.

SURF’s exceptional underground location enables physicists to look for faint signals that hint at dark matter and other particles or forces we don’t yet understand — things that lie beyond the current Standard Model of particle physics. But the drifts and caverns at SURF offer research opportunities for more than just physicists; biologists trek these routes in search of microbial life that has adapted to harsh, hot underground homes under great pressure and geologists head into the tunnels for unparalleled access to deep rock. The facility is also a proving ground for engineering research. South Dakota Mines students, graduates and faculty are participating in many of SURF’s experiments.

Dr. Heise will discuss the advantages to conducting these experiments in the former Homestake Gold Mine and what researchers are hoping to discover.

About the South Dakota Mines’ Summer 2023 STEAM Café Lineup

STEAM Café, an ongoing series of free, informal talks by Mines faculty, staff and visiting experts, is a partnership between the university, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company.

An acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, STEAM Café is held at 6 p.m. MT on the third Tuesday of each month at Hay Camp (601 Kansas City St, Rapid City), unless otherwise noted.

The 2023 summer STEAM Café lineup includes:

  • June 20, 6 p.m. MT; Deep Science at America’s Underground Laboratory; Presented by Dr. Jaret Heise, science director at the Sanford Underground Research Facility
  • July 18, 6 p.m. MT; A Panel Discussion on Critical Minerals: Essential to Everyday Life, Increasingly in Demand, and Mines Degrees Crucial to Solutions; Presented by Jason Combs, program director of the National Security Innovation Network at South Dakota Mines; Dr. Andrea Brickey, an associate professor in the Department of Mining Engineering & Management; Dr. Jon Kellar, a professor in the Department of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering; and Emma Thompson and Annika Schooler, Civil & Environmental Engineering undergraduates (2024)
  • August 15, 6 p.m. MT; Genetically Engineered Microbes for the Industries of Tomorrow; Presented by Dr. Tanvi Govil, research scientist at South Dakota Mines


South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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