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Education and Outreach

Davis-Bahcall Scholars

Through Sanford Lab's Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program, students experience a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity that takes them around the world.
Davis-Bahcall Scholars underground

The Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program is for students entering their first or second year of college. Scholars spend four weeks of their summer exploring the world of modern scientific research at leading national and international laboratories and universities. They spend time at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, then visit Fermi and Argonne national laboratories in Chicago, other labs across the midwest, and Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy.*

*Due to COVID-19, the 2021 Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program has been shortened from four to two weeks and will include limited travel. For updated information or to apply for the 2021 Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program, visit the South Dakota Department of Education’s website.

Davis Bahcall Scholars at the Colosseum

World travelers

The Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program gives students the opportunity to spend four weeks of their summer exploring the world of modern scientific research at world-leading laboratories and universities. Students begin the program at Sanford Lab, where they work with scientists, engineers, and others, then travel to labs across the midwest, ending at Fermilab in Illinois. The final week is spent in Italy, where they visit Gran Sasso National Laboratory. 

Davis-Bachall Scholars search for answers underground

Discovery and collaboration

The Davis-Bahcall Scholars program takes its name from two scientists whose collaborative efforts resulted in a major discovery: Dr. Raymond Davis Jr. and his collaborator, Dr. John Bahcall. Based on Bahcall's theory, Davis built his solar neutrino experiment at the 4850 Level of the Homestake Mine, collecting data for nearly 30 years beginning in the mid-1960s. His ground-breaking research led to a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002. This spirit of discovery drives the program, encouraging students to find the scientist, engineer or researcher within.

Program sponsor logos


The Davis-Bahcall Scholars Program is sponsored by First Premier Bank, the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium (SDSGC), Black Hills State University and Sanford Lab. The SDSCG has sponsored the Davis-Bahcall program for several years as part of its mission to instill the spirit of exploration and discovery in students, educators and in the general public. 

For more than six years, the program was sponsored by the 3-M corporation.