Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to South Dakota Mines Research, contact:

Research Affairs

South Dakota Mines
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493



Research at Mines happens every day of the year, involves faculty and students at every academic level, and frequently includes collaboration across the state, the nation and the globe.

Mines Team Develops Virtual Reality Hazard Awareness Training Program

Clint Kling, a doctoral graduate student in the Department of Mining Engineering and Management at South Dakota Mines, is shown here testing a virtual reality training system he helped develop to improve safety in industrial settings.

Underground and surface mines can be hazardous places, so when it comes to safety training in the mining profession, the old saying “practice makes perfect” holds true. To improve hazard safety instruction, a team at South Dakota Mines has spent the past year developing a virtual reality (VR) training module that mimics a mining environment.

“We are using new technologies combined with neuroscience to help people learn faster and more effectively,” says Clint Kling, a mining engineering doctoral graduate student who is currently working on the project under the guidance of Associate Professor Purushotham Tukkaraja, Ph.D., in collaboration with the company The research is funded by the United States Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) with a grant of $100,000.

The VR hazard awareness training is designed for new and inexperienced miners and will be available in English or Spanish. It will be conducted alongside the already existing MSHA training program at South Dakota Mines, the local mine sites, and will also be used in MSHA’s refresher training courses. The team plans to develop this program at the local level to establish good results before a national rollout. The researchers are also taking their ideas to the marketplace. They are ready to collaborate with any industry partners such as mining, construction, or general industry to develop...

Last Edited 6/1/2021 03:47:42 PM [Comments (0)]

South Dakota Mines Professor Reflects on IceCube’s 10th Anniversary and Discoveries at the South Pole

Dr. Xinhua Bai, associate professor of physics at South Dakota Mines shown here at the South Pole (seated lower right) during his research in 1998. Dr. Bai is among a group of scientists whose work helped establish the international IceCube Collaboration, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.

Ten years ago, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory fully opened its eyes for the first time, the eyes that allow curious scientists to “see” signals from passing astrophysical neutrinos: mysterious, tiny, extremely lightweight particles created by some of the most energetic and distant phenomena in the cosmos. IceCube is a gigantic three-dimensional detector for high energy cosmic rays, whose origins remained unknown, after they were discovered over a century ago.

South Dakota Mines associate professor of physics, Xinhua Bai, Ph.D., is among the original “dreamers,” which included a few dozen scientists, who helped start the international IceCube Collaboration. Today, the diverse group of researchers includes over 350 scientists from 53 institutions in 12 countries and five continents.

“I was extremely lucky to be one of the early scientists on this collaboration. After I received my Ph.D., driven by my curiosity, I started as a winter over scientist for the Antarctic Muon And Neutrino Detector Array and the South Pole Air Shower Experiment  in 1998.” Bai says. “The...

Last Edited 5/13/2021 04:23:50 PM [Comments (0)]

High Impact Hardrocker: Frank Aplan

Frank Aplan, one of the most influential leaders of the mineral processing industry and academia for the past 60 years. He was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The Pennsylvania State University.

An Appreciation by Douglas W. Fuerstenau and Raja V. Raman

Frank Fulton Aplan graduated from South Dakota Mines in 1948 with a degree in metallurgical engineering and went on to become one of the most influential leaders of the mineral processing industry and academia for the past 60 years. Aplan, was who was also a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The Pennsylvania State University, passed away peacefully at Berwick, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. His association with the mineral engineering profession had many dimensions – an engineer, a scientist, a manager of research, and a teacher to name a few, and his performance in each of these roles, simply outstanding.  Most of all, Frank was an outstanding human being, brilliant, dedicated, gritty, hardworking and demanding. He expected excellence from himself, and from everyone else. All his friends have learned many lessons to accept and deal with adversity from Frank's four difficult but successful campaigns against cancer. He was a warm and friendly person who assuredly provided wise counsel and a helping hand.  Frank often said that “no man is an island. There is a half dozen or more people that probably helped you along career. I guess that my philosophy is that often you cannot pay back but you can pay forward…. that is why I've gone out of my way to recommend all kinds of people for awards and honors and so forth and I try to give generously to cha...

Last Edited 4/27/2021 02:54:27 PM [Comments (0)]

Women in Science & Technology I: Making History

Ada Lovelace, Lady Jane Franklin and Rachel Carson are three women in STEM who helped make history.

Women have made many important and fascinating contributions to science and technology. When asked to name a woman scientist, however, too often the only woman people can think of is Marie Curie. She is of course a very important part of women’s history in science, but she’s only one of many women influencing science and engineering!

To celebrate Women’s History Month and help kick off the STS blog, this is the first of three posts about women in science & technology who are not Marie Curie. For this series, members of our STS faculty have chosen women in science and technology – both historical and contemporary – who they think are worth our attention. In this post, we share three women in science and technology who helped make history.

Ada Lovelace – selected by Erica Haugtvedt

Ada Lovelace wrote arguably the first computer program for Charles Babbage’s hypothetical mechanical computer, the “analytical engine.” She was the only legitimate daughter of George Gordon, Lord Byron, the famous Romantic poet, peer, and politician. Lovelace’s parents separated when she was an infant; the estrangement was bitter. Lovelace’s mother, herself considered a youthful prodigy in mathematics, committed herself to educating Lovelace in mathematics and science as an antidote against Byron’s poetic influence. Lovelace, however, remained attached to the legacy of her father and would not only name he...

Last Edited 3/23/2021 09:37:55 PM [Comments (0)]