Construction begins locally for the largest physics experiment in history

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LEAD, S.D. -

Scientists from across the world took part in a monumental ground-breaking ceremony at the Sanford Underground Research Facility Friday, to kick off construction of a long base-line neutrino facility.  

This facility will conduct the largest physics experiment in the world to study the properties of neutrinos. Neutrinos were discovered at the Sanford Lab in the 1960's, and now can possibly determine a new scientific theory. This project will take about a decade to build.

"What color is a neutrino, what is it about a neutrino that perhaps makes it matter or anti-matter, and what's the correlation of neutrinos as they move from the Fermilab hundreds of miles away from here, all the way to these huge 800,000 tons collectors that are right here,” South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds said.

These are the questions scientists from 30 different countries have invested millions of dollars in to discover. Doctor Ray Davis discovered neutrinos in the Sanford Underground Lab in the 1960's, now construction began on the project to build a detector that will receive subatomic particles 800 miles underground from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago.

“It's really a mystery why there is matter as we’re are made of and not anti-matter left from the big bang,” Dr. Juergen Reichenbach, an assistant professor at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology said. “So we hope that neutrinos can actually provide a mechanism that could explain why there is more matter being created after the big bang than anti-matter."

The Fermi National Accelerator Lab can create high intensity protons, which in turn will create a large number of neutrinos. By 2022, the first underground detector should be created in Sanfords Lab and will begin to study Neutrinos from the sun. By 2026, an underground beam from Chicago should send the first set of neutrinos 808 miles, and study the results.

"Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles that we think that the universe is made of and we think there are only a handful of fundamental particles that make up everything in the universe,” said University of Texas, Arlington Professor, Dr. Jaehoon Yu. “You cannot believe that we have to test it out."

Now the smallest particles ever discovered in history will be tested as they travel from Chicago, into Olympic size swimming pools filled with liquid argon in the underground facility. This will in turn, create a large economic development for South Dakota.

"Over the life of the project at it's peak we will have about 1,000 people employed in South Dakota, and over the 10 years of construction, probably about a billion dollars of economic impact, a billion,” Governor of South Dakota, Dennis Daugaard said.

Not to mention how this new scientific experiment will set up the future for young scientists.

"It's the hope that we give to the next generation that we can do with this particular understanding and knowledge, of the universe, we can make our next generations lives much better that what we've ever done before,” explained Yu.

This facility should help solve the deepest mysteries in the universe by exploring the nature of matter and energy.

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