Mines News

Release Date Monday, September 20, 2021

Mines Fall 2021 STEAM Cafés: The First Woman Computer Programmer, Rural Studies, Mysterious Shipwrecks, and More

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.


Topics for the fall STEAM Café series range from a look at the very first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, to a look at the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior more than 45 years ago. 

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. A food truck will be available at each STEAM Café for meal purchase, and handcrafted beer will be available for purchase from 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,” says Jim Rankin, Mines President. “We invite everyone to check it out. They won’t be disappointed.” 

Sept. 21: Bryce Tellmann – Defining the Great Plains: Reinventing a Region Through Ideas and Stories

If you ask someone from South Dakota what region of the country they hail from, you can expect any number of answers: “the Midwest”; “the Black Hills”; “West River”; “the Great Plains”; “the Northern Plains”. Regions are notoriously difficult to define, but the ideas and stories we form about a region affect the lives of people who live there, especially when it comes to how communities approach environmental, economic and social challenges. Dr. Bryce Tellmann, instructor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at South Dakota Mines, will discuss how our regional ideas of the Great Plains have changed over the past two centuries, what those ideas mean for communities in the present and how new regional ideas could help us meet the challenges of the future.

Oct. 19: Erica Haugtvedt & Duane Abata – Ada Lovelace: First Computer Programmer?

Long before today’s pervasive digital computers, the first computer programmer was arguably Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (daughter of the famous poet, Lord Byron). An exceptional mathematician, she captured the essence of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which was conceptualized by Babbage but was not constructed in his lifetime. In 1843, she wrote an algorithm to accompany Babbage’s Engine. Her contribution to calculate Bernoulli numbers with the Analytical Engine has since been successfully translated, with minor changes, to the C++ programming language. Dr. Erica Haugtvedt, assistant professor of Humanities at Mines, and Dr. Duane Abata, professor of Mechanical Engineering at Mines, will discuss how this extraordinary Victorian woman achieved her insights through translating between languages, people, disciplines and between the imaginary and the real.

Nov. 16: Dr. Kathleen Sheppard – The Temple of Mut at the Luxor Hotel

In 1896, Margaret Benson began excavating at the Temple of Mut in Karnak near the village of Luxor, Egypt. She was the first woman to be granted official permission to excavate in Egypt, making this a groundbreaking season. She made the Luxor Hotel a center of knowledge creation and dissemination for the excavation – a decision that would have a major impact on the excavation and her life going forward. Dr. Kathleen Sheppard, associate professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Missouri University of Science & Technology, will detail Benson’s three years of excavation and staying at the Luxor Hotel, culminating in the first major publication of the site, The Temple of Mut in Asher (1899) with her partner, Janet Gourlay.

Dec. 21: John Dreyer – Steel Boats and Iron Men: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Lore of Ore Boats

The Great Lakes freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald carried iron ore from 1958 to Nov. 10, 1975, when it sank in Lake Superior during a severe storm, resulting in the deaths of all 29 crew members. Although the ship was found shortly afterwards, no bodies were ever recovered, and the exact cause of her sinking remains unknown. Dr. John Dreyer, associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at South Dakota Mines, will discuss this mysterious sinking and why these large lake boats are so near and dear to thousands of “boat nerds” across the world. He will also discuss other Great Lakes wrecks, contemporary boats and a few recipes from boat galleys to try at home.

Jan. 18: NSIN X-Force Fellows – Problem Solvers for the DoD

Universities across the nation work with the Department of Defense (DoD) to solve real-world problems through the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN). Three student teams from Mines will discuss their work with Ellsworth Air Force Base through NSIN, including researching software solutions for reverse engineering, designing and testing B-1 parts; troubleshooting internet network problems; and helping the base consider its options to become more energy resilient. This presentation is a follow-up to the NSIN presentation given on July 20, 2021.



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 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country 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

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2023
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
King Center
Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2023
7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Campus Wide
Saturday, Sep. 30, 2023
7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Stadium Parking Lot and Rocker Trails
Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023
7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Crazy Horse