Sanford Lab’s Neutrino Day 2016 celebrated the star stuff in all of us through activities, presentations, an art competition and displays. Presentations and videoconferences ranged from the NASA 2030 Mars Experience, to dark matter, to neutrinos, to the composition of the universe.
Manuel Brother’s Park was filled with children doing hands-on science activities. Esther Mandy, a 7-year-old visiting Neutrino Day for the first time, said her favorite part of the day was: “how people study artifacts.” Although Esther said her favorite thing about science is stars, she loves all “sciency-stuff.”
At the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, David Vardiman, geotechnical project engineer at Sanford Lab, gave a geology demonstration that drew children and adults alike. Vardiman focused on the differences between mining for gold and building large caverns for big science experiments. “The response from children was amazing,” he said. “They loved seeing the fossils, gold samples and geotechnical cores. That was really the highlight of the demonstration.”
Steve Rokusek has been a staple of Neutrino Day for several years and is one of the biggest draws, introducing children to advanced science in a way that inspires and excites. His “wild science” demonstrations included making clouds out of nitrogen and bubbles, which helps kids learn about the otherwise complicated physics of natural phenomenon.
Jason Crusan of NASA, who gave the keynote talk Friday night and was the featured guest for South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Science Café at the Lotus Up Café, discussed the 2030 Mission to Mars and the nitty-gritty details about NASA’s efforts to build habitats for living in space. —Continued on page 2
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Brynn Scogan, from Sioux Falls S.D., said, “I was really excited to meet him, and learn about what he’s doing to get people into space.” Crusan answered questions from the audience that focused on everything from water in space to living on the International Space Station to discovering life on Mars.
More than 1,100 people attended Neutrino Day events, which included videoconferences from the underground with the Emergency Response Team and the CASPAR experiment (Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophyical Research), which is studying nuclear fusion in stars.
At the Opera House, Elizabeth Worcester, member of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, focused her presentation on neutrinos and how DUNE and the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will search for these ghost-like particle. Dan McKinsey, co-spokesperson for the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment discussed dark matter and the next generation detector, LUX-ZEPLIN, which will replace LUX at Sanford Lab.