Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, September 19, 2023

South Dakota Mines Announces Fall STEAM Café Lineup

South Dakota Mines, in collaboration with South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company, presents the Fall 2023 STEAM Café lineup, featuring talks on Crazy Horse, the Sanford Underground Research Facility and more.

South Dakota Mines Fall 2023 STEAM Café features an exciting range of topics.

STEAM Café, an ongoing series of free, informal talks by 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. on the third Tuesday of each month at Hay Camp in Rapid City unless otherwise noted.

The 2023 Fall STEAM Café lineup includes:

Sept. 19, 6 p.m.

Crazy Horse Memorial: The Science Behind 75 Years of Stone Carving

Presented by Dr. Caleb M. Ziolkowski, chief mountain officer at the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.

Mountain carving draws on a variety of disciplines, often in surprising ways. Crazy Horse Memorial, the world's largest carving, has seen a wide variety of methods and approaches since its inception 75 years ago.

Dr. Caleb Ziolkowski, who currently heads the project as Chief Mountain Officer, will offer a high-level account of how the approach to carving has changed over the years, with emphasis on how current efforts involve technology, engineering, mathematics and — in the broadest sense — science to produce art on a grand scale.

Oct. 17, 6 p.m.

National Security Innovation Network: Addressing the Critical Minerals Supply Chain with Machine Learning

Presented by South Dakota Mines students Hunter Paxton and Calvin Tohm; moderated by Jason Combs, Rocky Mountain Regional Director of the National Security Innovation Network at Mines.

Any discussion of the U.S. economy or national security almost always includes discussion of our critical mineral supply chain and machine learning. Scientists and engineers across the U.S. are exploring how to apply machine learning to seemingly simple tasks in novel ways.

As part of the National Security Innovation Network at South Dakota Mines, Mines students Hunter Paxton, a senior computer science major, and Calvin Tohm, a civil and environmental engineering PhD candidate, worked with a scientist from Washington University in St. Louis and a student from the University of Virginia to build a proof-of-concept decision support tool to demonstrate how machine learning could be used to address critical minerals supply chain challenges. 

Nov. 21, 6 p.m.

Adventures in Mapping: Summer Geologic Research in the Remote Alaskan Wilderness

Presented by Dr. Trevor Waldien, assistant professor of geology and geological engineering.

Geologic research relies on observations of the geology in the field, which often requires field geologists to spend weeks or months in the field. Although it is true that the geology in most places has been mapped, remote areas such as the Alaskan wilderness are understood only at a generalized regional scale.

Dr. Trevor Waldien, assistant professor of geology and geological engineering at South Dakota Mines, will discuss the role of field work in modern geologic research, the importance of map scale and show many pictures highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly of remote geologic field work.

 Dec. 19, 6 p.m.

Engineering LBNF/DUNE: A Colossal Underground Undertaking for Neutrino Science

Presented by Josh Willhite (ME 99), LBNF project manager at SURF.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) nearly a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. Before this world-class science can begin, nearly 800,000 tons of rock must be excavated, and the facility is then provided with utilities to support the science. Excavation is almost complete, and the project is currently placing thousands of yards of concrete floors. Infrastructure installation will begin by the middle of 2024 and detector installation by the end of 2024.

Josh Willhite (ME 99), LBNF project manager at SURF, will provide an overview of the project and discuss some of the significant engineering challenges encountered while working on a major science project deep underground. Expect plenty of interesting photos and limited science.


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: Gray Hughes, 605-394-2554, Gray.Hughes@sdsmt.edu