1,000 scientists, engineers to work on new underground SD research lab

Unlocking the mysteries of these particles could help explain more about how the universe works, and why matter exists at all, according to researcher Dongming Mei.

Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles which make up the universe.

The Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, an international collaboration including 1,000 scientists and engineers from the University of South Dakota and around the world, will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

The facility will be built and operated by that group of roughly 1,000 from 30 countries.

“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 Mei, associate physics professor and director of the Center for Ultra-Low Background Experiments. “The USD group has been focusing on studying of the nature of neutrinos, supernova neutrinos, cosmic ray neutrinos, and theoretical aspects of neutrino properties.”

When complete, the facility will be the largest experiment ever built in the United States to study neutrinos.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago will generate a beam of neutrinos and send them 800 miles through the earth to the 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 the facility is expected to create almost 2,000 jobs throughout South Dakota, and a similar number of jobs in Illinois.