Two physics graduate students from the University of South Dakota have been working a mile underground this summer.
Dana Byram and Michelle While have been conducting their experiments at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Black Hills, South Dakota.
Byram is working toward a Ph.D. at USD while working in the SURF lab on a full-time basis. His shifts on the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment involve searching for experimental detection of dark matter particles.
While is focusing on the LUX-Zeplin (LZ) experiments while continuing her education at USD. The LZ project was designed to discover dark matter and could potentially usurp the most popular theoretical model.
Byram and While have been working alongside Dongming Mei, an associate physics professor at USD. The experiment is focused on detecting dark matter in the underground lab.
“The general properties of neutrinos and the nature of dark matter are currently two of the most important questions in fundamental physics,” Mei said.