Lead South Dakota: The Lab

Golden History Meets Scientific Future

The Lab
The Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake is one of Lead's most important economic drivers today, and the lab also will play an important role in the future of Lead for decades to come. The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority is reopening the former Homestake gold mine as an underground laboratory, where sensitive physics experiments will be protected from background cosmic radiation. Homestake is 8,000 feet deep, and proposed designs for the lab would make it the largest, deepest underground laboratory in the world. Biologists and Geologists also are planning experiments at the lab. The first major physics experiments will be installed in 2010.

The Science Authority already employs more than 80 people, and the payroll was about $6 million in 2009. In addition, the Sanford Underground Laboratory used 314 suppliers (190 from South Dakota and 157 from the Black Hills area) and 34 contractors (17 from the Black Hills area). The Sanford Lab's total budget for 2009 was about $26 million.

The Lab

The future is even brighter! A nationwide team of scientists is working with the National Science Foundation to convert the Sanford Lab into the national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL -- a $500 million project. In addition, the Department of Energy is working on another proposed experiment that would require a similar investment. Dozens of universities and research institutions are working on experiments for the Sanford DUSEL, and planning also is under way for a Sanford Center for Science Education on the lab's campus in Lead.


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