Sanford Lab's Neutrino Day ‘the best day ever’

Davis-Bahcall scholar Daniel Ostraat and Sanford Lab intern Ashley Wingert demonstrate to an eager young scientist how carbon atoms bond in graphite by peeling away layers with tape. Davis-Bahcall scholars and interns helped staff more than two dozen science activities.
Credit: 
Laura Howard

Neutrino Day 2013 drew more than 1,100 people on Saturday, July 13—a record crowd for the Sanford Lab's free annual science festival. (Last year’s total was 960.)

Fritz Miller of South Dakota Public Broadcasting offered this report: “For me, the day can be wrapped up in the words of a 5 or 6-year-old boy who walked away from our table saying ‘This is the BEST DAY EVER!’”

This year we had events at three locations—at our surface campus, at the Homestake Visitor Center and throughout downtown Lead. Shuttle buses ferried participants all day, and everything ran smoothly. Check www.sanfordlab.org for photos and details tomorrow.

Many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers. They include our major sponsors: South Dakota Public Broadcasting and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation (which funds SDPB's activities), Black Hills Power and the Lead Chamber of Commerce. Our other sponsors include Black Hills State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Goldcorp, New Rushmore Radio, KEVN, Simpsons Printing, Black Hills Mining Museum, the Historic Homestake Opera House and the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library in Lead.

This year we expanded Neutrino Day to include events and science talks in downtown Lead. Shuttle buses ferried participants between activities downtown, at the Homestake Visitor Center and the Sanford Lab's surface campus at the Yates Shaft. The expansion allowed us to move almost all activities indoors, so Neutrino Day was weather proof. We'll follow a similar format for Neutrino Day 2014, which will be on Saturday, July 12, so plan to attend.

Also for the first time this year, the Sanford Lab joined forces with the Lead Deadwood Art Center and with artists from throughout South Dakota to present our first ever art show: "Into the Dark: Art Exploring Dark Matter." Twenty-two South Dakota painters, sculptors and photographers accepted the unique challenge to represent dark matter—a substance that does not react with light. "Into the Dark" will remain at the Lead Deadwood Art Center on Main Street throughout August. Also at the Art Center, "Dark Photography" is a collection of 25 images from Sanford Lab multimedia specialist Matt Kapust and Black Hills State University photography professor Steve Babbitt. Kapust and Babbitt have been documenting the creation and operation of the Sanford Lab for more than three years, and their work reveals a unique underground environment. "Into the Dark" and "Dark Photography" will tour South Dakota from September through June 2014.

For more information about Neutrino Day 2014, contact Sanford Lab Communications Director Bill Harlan at bharlan@sanfordlab.org