News Releases

Mines offers peek of science a mile underground at Sanford lab’s Neutrino Day
Release Date Thursday, July 10, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (July 10, 2014) – From 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, July 12, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology will host an educational activity and offer attendees the chance to talk live with a Mines scientist a mile below the Earth’s surface as part of the annual Neutrino Day science festival at the Sanford laboratory in Lead.

All events are free and open to the public.

Graduate students will be available to answer questions about their underground research endeavors and offer more information about the School of Mines at the university’s booth located at the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s surface campus. Attendees will also have the opportunity to talk live with Cabot-Ann Christofferson, chemistry faculty member and liaison/deputy director of the Majorana Project at Sanford lab, who will be one of four scientists underground participating in the Neutrino Day presentations. Christofferson and several Mines graduate students are helping create the purest copper in the world for the Majorana Demonstrator experiment, located on the 4,850 level. The experiment is searching for evidence of neutrinoless double-beta decay. Its detection could help measure the mass of the neutrino.

At the Historic Homestake Opera House in downtown Lead, Mines students will conduct an interactive, electroplating experiment designed for all ages. Attendees will have the opportunity to electroplate copper onto nickels, mimicking on a small-scale the research conducted for the Majorana Demonstrator. Electroforming the world’s purest copper, Mines researchers add copper nuggets to the outer rings in each of the 10 electroforming baths filled with a sulfuric acid solution. A stainless steel cylinder called a mandrel – represented by a nickel in the activity – is lowered into the center of each bath where it is coated with the copper.

For a complete list of events, visit


About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,020 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at