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Join the Sanford Underground Research Facility's Education and Outreach team for an engineering design challenge

Are you ready for a challenge? Join the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Education and Outreach team at this week’s Deep Talks to learn more about the new programs and curriculum units they’ve developed for K-12 students across the state. Participants will also take part in an engineering design challenge geared toward middle school students. The event takes Thursday, January 11, at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, 160 W. Main Street in Lead.

“Our curriculum modules allow students to explore science and engineering questions as they assume the role of scientist and engineer working on a real-life science problem,” said Dr. June Apaza, director of Education and Outreach. “These experiences give students a window into the real work of scientist and engineers.”

The design challenge focuses on engineering of the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), which will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). The project requires the removal of more than 850,000 tons of rock from nearly a mile underground at Sanford Lab. What determines cavern shape? What factors do geotechnical engineers consider when planning an excavation? What can be done to ensure the long-term stability and safety of an excavated cavern deep underground?

“These challenges encourage team building, elicit problem-solving skills, and require critical thinking,” Apaza said.

Deep Talks begins at 5 p.m. with a social hour; the talk begins at 6 p.m. Free beer from Crow Peak Brewing Company in Spearfish is available for those 21 and older. Deep Talks is sponsored by Sanford Lab, Crow Peak Brewing Company of Spearfish and First Interstate Bank of Deadwood.

Deep Talks is a lecture series created by the Sanford Underground Research Facility and the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center. The event is held the second Thursday of each month, October through May. Deep Talks is free to the public. Donations to support community education are welcome.

Sanford Lab is operated by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) with funding from the Department of Energy. Our mission is to advance compelling underground, multidisciplinary research in a safe work environment and to inspire and educate through science, technology, and engineering. Visit us at

Visit the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center at