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Wulff wins top prize at South Dakota Academy of Sciences meeting
Release Date Friday, April 18, 2014
Andy Detwiler, from left, Alex Wulff, and Thomas Montoya of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Professors Detwiler and Montoya served as local organizers for the South Dakota Academy of Sciences meeting held in Rapid City, where Wulff took top prize at a student symposium.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (April 18, 2014) – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology computer science student Alex Wulff recently took first place for his research studying the formation of wormhole defects in friction-stir welds. 

Nearly 80 scientists from around the state gathered for the conference held in Rapid City on March 28-29. 

Wulff studied friction-stir weld defects using a Micro CT machine and has become a campus expert on use of the machine for non-destructive testing. He has written complex software to process image data and allow users to look at a defect as if it was a solid object. His work, which was done in part during the Research Experience for Undergraduates hosted at Mines in the summer of 2013, also took second place at the Mines Undergraduate Research Symposium held on campus earlier this month.  

He plans to graduate in May 2015 and has already been accepted to the Mines Computational Sciences & Robotics master’s program. He has accepted a software development internship with Amazon and will be working in California this summer.  

Wulff completed his research under the guidance of Antonette Logar, Ph.D.; Ed Corwin, Ph.D., Bill Cross, Ph.D., Mike West, Ph.D., and Bharat Jasthi, Ph.D.

Local organizers of this year’s South Dakota Academy of Sciences meeting were Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Professor Andy Detwiler, Ph.D., and Department of Electrical Engineering Professor Thomas Montoya, Ph.D. Several Mines faculty members and students presented at the meeting. 

 The South Dakota Academy of Science mission is to develop interest in science; strengthen the bonds of fellowship between scientists, students and others interested in science; preserve information of scientific value; and stimulate research in areas that relate to the natural resources of the state. The 100th anniversary of the South Dakota Academy of Science meetings will be held next spring at the Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma.  



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 $62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at