New Mines president looks to strengthen underground research partnership
Release Date Monday, June 24, 2013
LEAD, S.D. (June 24, 2013) – Exciting new experiments being conducted nearly a mile below the Earth’s surface at the Sanford Underground Research Facility could potentially uncover secrets of the universe, and School of Mines graduate student researchers will be right there for the next great discovery.
Armed with a new physics doctorate, existing research excellence and its geographic proximity to the deep underground laboratory where the search for dark matter is already under way, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology will strengthen its partnership with Sanford, new Mines President Heather Wilson pledged during a tour of the facility on Monday.
It was Wilson’s first look at the underground laboratory where scientists are conducting a search for the elusive subatomic particle. School of Mines physicists have played a significant role on the dark matter research team. Wilson began her role as university president on Monday, June 17.
“It’s a very strong synergy, and we hope to make it even stronger,” she said of the partnership with Sanford.
“There is tremendous potential at Sanford for the School of Mines and others to be doing world-class particle physics work.”
Wilson said opportunities at Sanford for graduate student researchers are career-making. Mines students not only rub shoulders with peers from prestigious research universities, they help to lead the way.
“If these experiments going forward in the next decade are successful, the next great advances in understanding matter will be potentially discovered here in South Dakota,” she said.
“The School of Mines is one of the best universities in the world, and when it comes to the things that are going on here we will continue to get better. These students are brought together with their peers from around the country and around the world, and I think for the students who may have grown up here in South Dakota, it’s realizing that they are in one of the best programs in the country,” Wilson said.
“We have physicists and chemists and materials folks and geologists working here every day, and they’re teaching the next generation of graduate students, in addition to research. … It’s a very close working relationship and it pays big benefits to in terms of teaching and advancing knowledge.”
Sanford is owned and operated by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, with support from the Department of Energy and oversight by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.