BHSU underground campus at Sanford Lab gives opportunities for students


LEAD, S.D. (KELO) — What was once the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead years ago is now an underground lab where several experiments are taking place. In 2015, the Sanford lab brought Black Hills State University into the mix.

At 4,850 feet at the Sanford underground research facility, lies a BHSU underground campus where students can be a part of world leading science experiments.

“I usually have one or two BHSU students that are working with me underground every semester,” BHSU Assistant Dir, of Physics Brianna Mount said.

And they get to experience going a mile underground and going in a clean room environment and working with some of these large collaborations,” Mount said.

People from around the world come to the underground facility to research and run experiments with rare processes that can not be performed on surface level.

“So we go a mile underground to shield us from those particles on the surface but then also the same experiments that are looking for those really rare processes and those really rare signals from things like dark matter,” Mount said.

Last semester Erika Redinger, a student at Black Hills State University, got to be a part of the experiments.

“To start off with I needed research credits for school and my advisor was like, ‘go talk to Brianna Mount’ you have to see what cool opportunities are underground for you,” Redinger said.

Now, Redinger has found a passion for physics and interns for another facility located in the Sanford lab.

“The work at the Black Hills State University underground campus got me really interested to work underground and so I kept coming back. like okay what can I do this semester, I’ll do the next semester too,” Redinger said.

The BHSU underground campus is funded by a South Dakota Board of Regents grant, BHUS funds, and the Sanford Lab.

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