As You Read This, Trillions of Neutrinos are Passing Through Your Body


John Thune, U.S. Senator for South Dakota
March 02, 2016

Sanford Lab Leaders Update Thune on the Future of Their Research Facility

This week, U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) met with Mike Headley, executive director of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), and Ron Wheeler, vice chair of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, and was updated on the status of the cutting-edge research occurring between SURF in Lead, South Dakota, and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.

The SURF facility is located in the former Homestake Mine, which was the largest and deepest goldmine in North America until its closure in 2002. Researchers chose SURF for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) because of the depth of the former goldmine. The underground facility uses the Earth’s mantle as a natural shield for sensitive research instruments, filtering out the interference of solar radiation and cosmic rays.

DUNE seeks to advance our understanding of neutrino science and particle physics and will attract international scientists, researchers, and educators to the Black Hills.

Neutrinos are among the most abundant particles in the universe, and because they have virtually no mass, neutrinos can travel across the universe essentially unimpeded. While this property makes them extremely difficult to detect, a better understanding of neutrino physics is essential to discovering details about the composition of the universe. The 2015 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the breakthrough discovery that neutrinos contain mass.

Thank you, Senator Thune!

You can also view the message online.

Note: The detectors at SURF actually use Earth’s crust not mantle for shielding. Also, I received this message in an e-mail with the same subject line as the title, but I changed “billions” to trillions.

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