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USD To Celebrate Groundbreaking of Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

Photo of Yates Sanford Lab - credit Sanford Lab. The Yates surface facility at the Sanford Lab in Lead, South Dakota. Credit Sanford Lab.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will celebrate the groundbreaking of the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, an international collaboration including scientists from USD, that will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

“The discovery of neutrinos mass has created a potential tantalizing connection between the observed asymmetry of matter over antimatter in our universe and postulated neutrino properties,” said Dongming Mei, associate physics professor and director of the Center for Ultra-Low Background Experiments (CUBED). “The USD group has been focusing on studying the nature of neutrinos, supernova neutrinos, cosmic ray neutrinos, and theoretical aspects of neutrino properties.”

Today’s groundbreaking will occur at 3:20 p.m. CDT at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. A livestream will be available.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will house the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be built and operated by a group of roughly 1,000 scientists and engineers from 30 countries.

When complete, LBNF/DUNE will be the largest experiment ever built in the United States to study the properties of mysterious particles called neutrinos. Unlocking the mysteries of these particles could help explain more about how the universe works, and why matter exists at all.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located outside Chicago, will generate a beam of neutrinos and send them 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) through the earth to Sanford Lab, where a four-story-high, 70,000-ton detector will be built beneath the surface to catch those neutrinos.

At its peak, construction of LBNF is expected to create almost 2,000 jobs throughout South Dakota, and a similar number of jobs in Illinois.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News