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Staff members and scientists repeated the necessity to go deep underground with their research due to cosmic radiation on the surface of earth as well as the evidence of it several feet underground. They explained that the scientific research environment requires purity of air and water therefore their work involves filtering and purifying the air and water with temperature controlled mechanisms.
Sanford Underground Research Facility created a Cultural Advisory Committee,
comprised of American Indians and local community members
According to Bill Harlan, Communications Director, he stated,
"the Homestake gold mine is a physics landmark. In 1965, nuclear chemist, Ray Davis installed an experiment His goal was to detect neutrinos produced by the sun, and his discoveries earned him a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physics Deep underground laboratories shield sensitive physics experiments from this cosmic noise.".
He further explains that the future for Sanford Underground Research Facility includes a partnership between SURF and Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois to build the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE), where researchers would shoot a beam of neutrinos from Batavia through the earth, to an underground detector 800 miles away at Homestake. The Sanford Underground Research Facility also could host future generations of dark matter and neutrinoless double-beta decay experiments and other experiments. Plans are underway for a Sanford Center for Science Education on the surface campus, as T. Denny Sanford's vision is to inspire students to consider careers in science and engineering. Pilot programs at Sanford Underground Research Facility already have reached thousands of K-12 students in South Dakota. Sanford Underground Research Facility at Homestake will provide education and research opportunities for decades to come.
The visiting Tribal Chairmen were especially enthused to hear of the future plans for the SURF and the proposed internship and scholarship opportunities for the tribal college students. They were very pleased to hear of cultural outreach initiatives that had already taken place; such as the Gear Up-Sanford Lab Partnership which began in 2009, Red Cloud Indian School's combined science and journalism Pilot Program, and Crow Creek-Lower Brule Program which brought scientists to the schools for on-site science-related workshops.
Also of interest to the tribal chairmen was the news that Sanford Underground Research Facility created a Cultural Advisory Committee, comprised of American Indians and local communities, to advise on policies and initiatives that support the project's commitment to integrate South Dakota's diverse culture into its operations; as well as advises the Education and Outreach department on programs and initiatives to reach students in rural areas, especially in Indian Country.
After the tour, President Yellow Bird Steele remarked,
“I came here today with mixed feelings because of the blatant violations of our treaties in the unlawful taking of our sacred Black Hills and the desecration of our land for the mining of precious minerals that rightfully belong to us. But I also came to see what has been done to this hill after the Homestake Mine was shut down and turned over to these chemists and scientists. The Sanford Underground Research Facility is impressive. Although I still have reserved feelings; I also understand that education is a requisite in the treaties. I see that the future plans to include our tribal members in studying the laws of physics can only be positive. I see that the SD Gear Up Program and the Red Cloud School have partnered with Sanford Lab and thank them for their leadership insight in providing these exceptional opportunities for our students. I thank the Governor and the staff at Sanford Lab for the opportunity to learn about this lab.”
posted October 20, 2012 6:59 am edt