Mines News

Release Date Monday, December 16, 2019

South Dakota Mines Physics Students Win National Recognition

Michael Bowles, a graduating Ph.D., attaches a gas line to the BetaCage prototype particle detector within the reduced-radon cleanroom in the physics department at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology  chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the SPS National Office. This is the fourth year in a row the chapter has been recognized for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physical sciences organization, a designation given to fewer than 15 percent of all SPS chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and internationally.

Many members of SPS at Mines work on research associated with the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead. The deepest underground laboratory in the United States, SURF houses multiple experiments in areas such as dark matter, neutrino physics, biology, geology and engineering. Mines students have a unique opportunity to engage in world-class science at SURF while completing their degrees.

“I am very proud of our students for this well-deserved achievement — their engagement with the community is fantastic. The SPS activities combined with the unique research opportunities here at South Dakota Mines help make the students very well-rounded,” says Richard Schnee, Ph.D., the head of the department of physics at South Dakota Mines.

The SPS chapter at South Dakota Mines is advised by Michael Dowding and is led by student officers including president Layne Tieszen, vice president Jonathan Hulscher and secretary Brian Lutz. Dowding was also a finalist for the 2019 National Outstanding Chapter Advisor.

The Society of Physics Students is a professional association designed for students, and membership is open to anyone interested in physics and related fields. SPS operates within the American Institute of Physics (AIP), an umbrella organization for professional physical science societies.

SPS chapters are evaluated on their level of interaction with the campus community, the professional physics community, the public and with SPS national programs. The Outstanding Chapter Award recognizes high levels of outreach as well as unique approaches to fulfilling the mission of SPS to “help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community.”

Each year Mines’ SPS chapter takes part in a list of community outreach and charity activities: Punkin Chunkin, Festival of Lights Parade, Parade of Trees, Neutrino Day activities at SURF, Dark Matter Day, Rocker Night at Main Street Square, Go to Mines, MLK Food Drive, Trick or Treat for canned goods, Engineering Week, Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, Women in Science & Engineering Conference, Mines Day at the Capitol and Charity Pig Wrestling.

 

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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 2,529 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

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