Dr. Richard Gaitskell, a professor of physics at Brown University and project spokesperson for the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) collaboration, will talk about the search for dark matter during a visit to the USD campus on Tuesday, July 1.

The LUX collaboration is a project that involves scientists and students from more than a half dozen colleges and universities in the United States. The scheduled project calls for the construction and deployment of a large two-phase liquid/gas xenon dark matter detector and water shield to be installed this year at the Sanford Underground Laboratory in the former Homestake Mine at Lead, S.D., to establish a clear leadership role for the United States in the field of direct dark matter detection. The University of South Dakota has accepted an invitation to be a part of this groundbreaking Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) experiment. Gaitskell will present a technical talk open to science faculty and students from area institutions. He will also present a public lecture on dark matter and LUX, "A Noble Endeavor – Looking for Dark Matter," at 7 p.m. in Farber Hall. This lecture is free and open to the public.

"Dr. Gaitskell is one of the preeminent scientists in the international community leading the search for the direct detection of dark matter," said Tina Keller, associate professor of physics and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The U. "Our campus is fortunate to have him as a visitor and we look forward to participating in the LUX collaboration."

Also on Tuesday, July 1, Dr. Xing-Zhong Li, professor of physics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, will address USD faculty and students on the emission of neutrinos from metal hydrides. Li holds doctorates in physics from both Tsinghua University and the University of Wisconsin, and he is an internationally renowned scholar in the areas of plasma physics and controlled nuclear fusion. His visit to the United States and South Dakota is for the purpose of building a collaboration to study neutrino emissions, with a possibility for locating this new experiment at the Sanford Underground Laboratory.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for South Dakota faculty and students to build international relationships to study physics," added Dongming Mei, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at USD. "Tsinghua University is considered one of the best and most selective universities in China."

Joining Gaitskell and Li at USD also on July 1 is Dr. Thomas J. Dolan, adjunct professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Illinois. Dolan will meet with faculty and students to discuss innovations in nuclear energy. His areas of expertise include innovative plasma confinement concepts for nuclear fusion; fusion power plant design, safety, environmental aspects, and economics; molten salt fission reactors, nuclear training programs for developing countries; and coordination of international activities in nuclear energy.

"We’re excited to have these distinguished scientists on our campus to provide valuable insight and gain a better understanding about some of the projects they're working on in physics and science," admitted Keller, who credited Mei for arranging the campus lectures. "This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students and faculty as we move forward with the LUX collaboration at the Sanford Underground Laboratory."

For more information about the upcoming lectures at USD, please contact the College of Arts and Sciences at (605) 677-5221 or e-mail cas@usd.edu. A photograph of Gaitskell is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Richard_Gaitskell.jpg and a photo of Li is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/xingzhong_li.jpg.

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