Mines News

Release Date Monday, June 17, 2019

STEAM Café Summer Topics: from Termites to the History of Mining and Arctic Exploration


STEAM Café, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, is held at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month, at Hay Camp Brewing Company. A food truck is available at each STEAM Café where patrons can purchase dinner. Handcrafted beer is available for purchase from Hay Camp.  


The topics for the summer STEAM Café series range from a look at the Franklin Expedition of 1846 to the study of termite mounds in order to find new sustainable building materials and structures. STEAM Café is a partnership between South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company. This series of free informal talks by SD Mines faculty, staff and visiting experts covers topics ranging from cutting edge research to history.

STEAM Café, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, is held at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month, at Hay Camp Brewing Company. A food truck is available at each STEAM Café where patrons can purchase dinner. Handcrafted beer is available for purchase from Hay Camp.

“STEAM Café is a great opportunity for the community to connect with the staff and faculty at SD Mines to talk about the amazing things happening in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math,” said Rachel Mannhalter, SD Mines Training & Development Coordinator. “We love the idea of this very informal atmosphere where conversations can happen, and connections can be made.”

May 21 (Now available on-line here.)

Beautiful Minds: Developing Emotionally Intelligent Engineers 

Dan Dolan, Professor Emeritus & Director of CAMP; Kim Osberg, Associate Director of CAMP

Universities and businesses alike have come to understand the importance of teaching future engineers not just technical skills, but attributes such as the ability to lead, collaborate, work in teams and communicate effectively. The terminology is “emotional intelligence,” and it has become a critical piece of STEM education. At SD Mines, one program focused on teaching emotional intelligence is CAMP (Center for Advanced Multi-disciplinary Projects). Students in CAMP take part in intercollegiate student design competitions with professional development a key objective. At the May STEAM Café, Dan Dolan and Kim Osberg explored how the program helps students develop and grow emotional intelligence in order to become fully realized engineers.

June 18 

Into the Frozen Abyss: The Franklin Expedition of 1845 

John Dreyer, Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences

The 1845 Franklin expedition has become something of myth and legend. Two ships and 129 men departed Greenland with the goal of finding the Northwest Passage. They never returned. The rescue mission spanned nearly 10 years and mapped large portions of the high Arctic, only finding bones and artifacts. In the last few years, both ships have been found and modern expeditions have shed light onto what happened. The recent miniseries “The Terror” spun a supernatural tale while updating the expedition’s story and putting faces to the names. This talk outlines the history, technology, geography and possible fate of the expedition. Bring your warm clothes and hot chocolate as Dr. John Dreyer transports you to the Canadian High Arctic in the golden age of polar exploration.  

July 16 

Learning About Engineering from Termites and Nature 

Bret Lingwall, Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering

When it comes to engineering, nature is often our best teacher. Take the Macrotermitinea, or fungus-growing termites, for example. This species cultivates a fungus for decomposing dead plant material within colonies, and constructs massive structures that provide ventilation, thermal regulation, disease resistance and food for 20 million termites in one colony. Their use of mechanics, physics, biology, chemistry and microbiology to solve problems shows a masterful integration of engineering principles. Join Dr. Bret Lingwall as he broadens our understanding of how humankind can mimic natural engineering to solve human-based problems. 

August 20 

Hangup Man: A Most Dangerous Job

Mark Bowron, Instructor in Mining & Engineering Management

The Black Hills has a history that is rich in mining. But despite our roots being so closely tied to this industry, most of us rarely think of lives that were affected and even lost during those mining days. SD Mines faculty member Mark Bowron, a 40-year veteran of the mining industry, will share stories about the “hangup man” a unique position that existed in the 1970s-80s at the Climax Mine in Colorado. The hangup man played a vital role in the secondary underground blasting process. The talk will look at the technical aspects of this blasting technique in underground mining, but also the equally important aspect of the human and emotional toll it would take on the miners. The Hangup Man job was so dangerous that it is simply no longer allowed under the present Mine Safety & Health Administration rules. There was a saying underground when a hangup man was killed or injured or simply acquired enough seniority to take a job on the surface - “There are no OLD hang-up men.”


About SD Mines  

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 2,654 students with an average class size of 24. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $63,350. Find us online at sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

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

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2019
7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Wellness Center - Group Exercise Studio
Sunday, Sep. 22, 2019
All Day
Sioux Park Stadium
Sunday, Sep. 22, 2019
All Day
Sunday, Sep. 22, 2019
All Day
Campus and Dinosaur Hill