Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Spring STEAM Café Talks Delve Into the History of Pi, Wildfires and Weather, 3D Printing and More

STEAM Café is a series of free informal talks by South Dakota School of Mines & Technology faculty and staff, as well as visiting experts. The series is a partnership between the university, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company.


Topics for the spring 2020 STEAM Café series range from the role weather plays in wildfires to 3D printing to the history behind the number pi (π).

STEAM Café is a series of free informal talks by South Dakota School of Mines & Technology faculty and staff, as well as visiting experts. The series 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.

The topics for the Spring 2020 season include: 

EPICS@Mines: Learning Leadership through Project Experience
January 21
Cheryl Chapman, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering
Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) is a service-learning, team-based design course at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology that brings together students from multiple disciplines and academic levels to work together on long-term projects that benefit the community. Non-profit partners work with the university to identify real-world projects and support the student teams throughout the life of the project. Dr. Chapman will provide an overview of the program, current projects and opportunities for becoming a community partner with the university.

Note: EPICS students at Mines are also taking part in the South Dakota Public Broadcasting program, “Where Do We Go From Here?,” titled “EPICS:  How SDSM&T engineering and science students are tackling real-world projects locally and making a difference in our community,” at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the SDPB Black Hills Studio at 415 Main in Rapid City. The event is free & open to the public. It will also be available via live stream at the SDPB web page and replayed on TV SDPB 2 broadcasting in February. 

Mythbusters Edition
February 18

As part of the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City’s Family Series, faculty and students from the American Chemical Society will showcase exciting scientific theory and explosive experimentation. The free event is open to all curious spectators, serious scientists, and everyone in between.  A reception will be held at Hay Camp following the presentation. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City at 601 Columbus Street.

Slices of Pi: The History and Humanity of a Famous Number
March 17

Travis Kowalski, Interim Head of the Department of Mathematics
Every March 14, math enthusiasts and pun lovers celebrate National Pi Day on the (extremely silly) grounds that the well-known mathematical constant pi (π) is about 3.14. That fact, along with a formula or two about circles, is probably as much as most people can remember about the number. However, the story of how we came to discover, name and attempt to tame pi stretches across centuries and cultures … and it’s a story that continues to unfold to this very day. Join Dr. Travis Kowalski for a romp through mathematics, history, art and science, and learn how those pieces of pi fit together. (Also, pi puns. Lots of pi puns.)

Incident Meteorology: Weather Prediction in Wildfire Management
April 21

Darren Clabo, State Fire Meteorologist
Managing large and complex incidents such as 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 the 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.

3D Printing: From Industry to Your Local Elementary School
May 19

Katrina Donovan, Lecturer in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
Three-dimensional printing (3DP) is a developing technology that can be described as the process of printing in a layer-by-layer fashion, similar to building with Legos®. 3DP is a cutting-edge technology that engages many diverse individuals in big corporations, at our local elementary schools and even in our homes. 3DP is a great example of the crossroads between science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. If an inquisitive mind can imagine an object, that creation can be translated to a printed object. Donovan will discuss her experience as a research scientist in the 3DP Research and Development group, her engagement with local STEAM events and her travels abroad related to her 3DP journey.  She will also demonstrate 3DP at the STEAM Café.

Hay Camp Brewing Company is located at 601 Kansas City Street in Rapid City


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 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $68,685. 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, Snapchat, and TikTok.

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