Sunday, July 6, 2008

Big Science in the Wilderness

There are amazing things happening in the Soudan Mine State Park.  

You can tour the "Cadillac of Iron Mines."  After the mine  tour, I can see why that might be considered a good (luxurious?) place to work for a miner, but it still would be back-breaking, dirty, dark and noisy work.  

If you happen to be there at the right time, you can catch the second tour of the Soudan High Energy Physics Lab.  This is a surprising place to find near the end of the road.  BIG SCIENCE and high tech experiments are happening here.

They are hunting for dark matter.  (There is a NOVA podcast here about dark matter.)  In another experiment, they are beaming neutrinos at a big detector (pictured) from the Fermi Lab to measure the neutrinos' mass and learn more about their oscillation. Pretty interesting stuff.

If you go, I hope you get a tour guide as enthusiastic and knowledgeable as the guide that showed my group around.  Chris really knew his stuff and I enjoyed his talk.  He is part of the intern program there.  I hope when he gets a "real" job in his future, there is teaching in some part of it.  I think he would be a good one.

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