LEAD | This Saturday in Lead, Black Hills residents and visitors will celebrate science and a tiny particle they can’t even see.
Neutrino Day, named for a subatomic, neutral-charge particle considered to be one of the fundamental building blocks of the universe, is hosted by the Sanford Underground Research Facility.
Neutrino Day is centered at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center at 160 W. Main St., in downtown Lead, with activities all along Main Street, including events at the Lead/Deadwood Arts Center, the Historic Homestake Opera House and the All In One Events Center.
“It’s been growing tremendously,” said Sanford Lab communications director Constance Walter of the event, now in its 11th year.
“Last year we had 1,500 people attend Neutrino Day in Lead, South Dakota,” she said. “This year we expect at least that many.”
Highlights include hoistroom tours, science activities and exhibits, a live video chat with scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory located in a suburb of Geneva, Switzerland.
Yates Hoistroom tours begin at 8:30 a.m. Since public parking is not available at Sanford Lab, school buses will shuttle visitors beginning at 8:45 a.m. to locations and events throughout the day.
The Visitor Center will also be the site of science demonstrations, ranging from exploring rock formations and learning about electrical and fire safety to searching the galaxy using a solar telescope, and more.
The day will also include wild science demonstrations by South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s crowd favorite, "Science Steve" Rokusek.
Guests will also meet scientists who work underground, learn about current experiments, and view SDPB’s new documentary “Space Age South Dakota,” and see a heavy equipment display.
Activities on Main Street run from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Hands-on activities include fossil finding with the Journey Museum at the All In One Event Center and an art activity at the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center.
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“We do a lot of hands-on kids activities, so kids just aren’t learning about science, they’re getting their hands on science,” Walter said.
The Historic Homestake Opera House hosts “The Case for Curiosity” talk at 11 a.m.
Cabot-Ann Christofferson, a researcher with the Majorana Demonstrator Project and a lecturer at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, will talk about scientific advances that come from simply asking questions about how things work.
The Opera House is also the site of the Neutrino Day finale, “The Legend of the Northern Lights,” set for 4 p.m.
Astronomer José Francisco Salgado will talk about the science behind Aurora Borealis with the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble and two actors performing live during the film.
“It’s just a great day for people of all ages to come up and learn about the science at the Sanford Lab as well as some of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to make science,” Walter said.
“It’s always a great day, always a lot of fun,” she said.
To kick off the event, SDPB's Innovations will host a live broadcast with the speakers from the 4850 Level on Friday, from 11 a.m. to noon.
And, Dr. Nigel Lockyer, director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, will be the featured speaker at Morning Fill Up at The Garage in downtown Rapid City at 7 a.m.
A complete list of activities can be found at sanfordlab.org/neutrinoday.
For more information, contact Walter at CWalter@SanfordLab.org or at 605-722-4025.