Mines News

Release Date Monday, September 14, 2020

Zombie Parasites, 3D movies of the Immune System and Wildfire Weather Among Fall 2020 STEAM Café Topics

STEAM Café is a partnership between the university, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company. 

Topics for the fall STEAM Café series range from the science of materials to zombie parasites, to cutting-edge 3D video of the immune system in action to wildfire meteorology. STEAM Café, a series of free informal talks by South Dakota Mines faculty, staff and visiting experts, is a partnership between the university, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company. 

An acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, STEAM Café is held at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month, at Hay Camp.

“STEAM Café is a great opportunity for community members to engage with Mines staff and faculty to talk about things happening in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math,” said Jim Rankin, president of South Dakota Mines. “I would invite everyone to check it out. They won’t be disappointed.”

Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, in-person attendance at Hay Camp is limited to 36 people on a first-come first-served basis. Chairs are spaced six feet apart in accordance with social distancing guidelines set by the CDC. Each livestream can be viewed on the South Dakota Mines Facebook page, and the presentations will be posted to the university YouTube channel after each event.

Sept. 15, 6 p.m.

Materials: Spinal Discs to 3D Printed Objects

Katrina Donovan, Ph.D., lecturer in Materials & Metallurgical Engineering

Materials are objects that are created from matter. As a society we have utilized materials for many years – from using stones to grind grains and wielding swords for battle, and more recently, to exploiting polymers to create lightweight materials. This seminar will be a journey through material creation, characterization and production with material examples ranging from soft materials (hydrogels) to hard materials (metals). Donovan will bridge the gap between the characteristics of complex materials and how we may (unknowingly) leverage similar physics in everyday life. A discussion of how these complex materials can be introduced in a STEAM environment with student ages ranging from pre-K to college will be provided with specific examples of STEAM activities.

Oct. 20, 6 p.m.

Vampires, Zombies, & Mummies: Exploring Parasites of the Past and Present

Johnica Morrow, Ph.D., lecturer in Chemical and Biological Engineering

What better way to celebrate Halloween than by learning about blood-sucking beasties, mind-controlling master manipulators and mummies? Parasites are some of the most interesting organisms on the planet and have developed many unique survival strategies over thousands of years of living in association with their hosts. This talk will look at a few examples of parasites that live in and on their hosts, manipulate the behaviors of their hosts and can be found infecting and infesting people of the past. Join archaeoparasitologist Dr. Johnica Morrow on a journey through time exploring the interactions between people, animals and the parasites found in their blood, controlling their minds and helping to tell the stories of their dead.

Nov. 17, 6 p.m.

Movies from the Nano World: 3D Imaging of the Innate Immune System

Brandon Scott, Ph.D., research assistant professor in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

Microscopes offer a glimpse into the world beyond what the human eye can see. Using cutting-edge 3D imaging, Dr. Brandon Scott studies how the first responders of the innate immune system perform their basic activities, including removing dangerous foreign material, to keep us healthy. Dr. Scott will help us understand how this process works normally and ways it fails so scientists and doctors can be better prepared to tackle what goes wrong during a diseased state. Come enjoy a night at the cellular movie theater, and a bite to eat and drink, as we discuss how our immune system does just the same.

Dec. 15, 6 p.m.

Incident Meteorology: Weather Prediction in Wildfire Management

Darren Clabo, Ph.D., South Dakota state fire meteorologist and research scientist at SD Mines

Wildfires can be devastating incidents, putting lives and property at risk and costing millions to billions of dollars. Managing large and complex wildfires goes well beyond the act of fire suppression. Incident management teams (IMTs) are assembled and assigned to wildfires to provide field support in operations, finances, logistics and planning. This talk will focus on the role that an incident meteorologist plays within an IMT while assigned to a wildland fire. Clabo, an incident meteorologist since 2010, will draw on his experiences over the past decade to discuss how both the weather and weather forecasts impact all aspects of wildfire management. He will also address several new innovations in the field and how incident meteorology will likely evolve in the coming years.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,475 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $66,150. For these reasons College Factual ranks South Dakota Mines, the #1 Engineering School for Return on Investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu