by Kathy Chambers 23 Sep, 2014 in
Deep within the caverns of Lead, South Dakota is one of the nation’s preeminent underground laboratories. The site of the former Homestake Mine was once one of the largest and deepest gold mines in North America. This famous mine was discovered during the 1876 Black Hills gold rush and maintained a rich and colorful mining history for the next 125 years. When the mine became unprofitable it closed in 2003, having produced more than 40 million ounces of gold over its lifetime.
Mining continued after its closure for a different type of treasure. Scientific researchers recognized they now had a unique space a mile underground where sensitive physics experiments could be shielded from contaminants and cosmic radiation. Here nuclear chemist Ray Davis and his colleagues installed a solar neutrino experiment underground in the mine called the "Homestake Experiment," the large-scale radiochemical neutrino detector which first detected evidence of neutrinos from the sun. Davis shared the 2002 Noble Prize in Physics for this discovery with physicist Masatoshi Koshiba and Riccardo Giacconi.
Related Topics: dark matter, gold mine, HomeStake MIne, Large Underground Xenon Detector, LBNE, Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment, LUX, MAJORANA Demonstrator, neutrinos Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay, Sanford Lab, Sanford Underground Research Facilities, South DakotaRead more...
During the past year, Dr. William N. Watson, physicist, of DOE/OSTI’s staff has posted quite a few very interesting white papers in OSTI’s monthly Science Showcase on OSTI’s Home Page. This quiet, unassuming man crafts prolific papers on popular science topics of interest to the Department of Energy (DOE). He investigates and assimilates this information from OSTI’s extensive R&D Collections and takes us on a layman’s journey through the technical details and scientific research that make it all possible.
William’s papers have helped us to understand key technologies developed at DOE Laboratories for the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity and how chemical analysis of rocks and soil is determined millions of miles away. We know what is happening with new heat pump technology and how DOE researchers are working to improve designs and efficiency. The coherence of galaxies and dark energy and dark matter has been explained and the exciting research that is changing what we know about the world around us. William has given us an in-depth overview of the unique capabilities of metamaterials and how DOE research is eliminating the technical obstacles to their production and use in new devices. We have learned about the development of quantum computing and its capability to solve practical problems not possible with present-day computers. We know how...Read more...