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Augustana Included in New Research Center

SIOUX FALLS – Augustana College has been named a participant in a new 2010 research center created to conduct basic research in nuclear physics and astrophysics at the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) at the former Homestake Gold Mine.

The Center for Detecting Rare Physics Processes with Ultra-Low Background Experiments will be located at the University of South Dakota. This center will bring together current South Dakota faculty members from USD, South Dakota State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Dakota State University, Black Hills State University, and Augustana.

“This center will give the Augustana Physics Department a strong basis for growing our studies of the fundamental mysteries of the universe, specifically we’ll start by trying to understand dark matter,” said Dr. Drew Alton, assistant professor of physics at Augustana. “This is one of the center’s two primary physics goals.”

The new center will be under the direction of Dr. Dongming Mei from USD, who is also the project’s principal investigator. Since 2004, South Dakota has created seven 2010 research centers.

“Our scientists will be able to participate significantly in experiments planned at the Sanford Lab at Homestake and DUSEL, and be better positioned for success in obtaining external funding for their research,” said South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds.

The new center will pursue research directions that were identified by a national panel as the highest priorities for particle physics research at DUSEL. “This research has tremendous funding potential through the National Science Foundation,” Gov. Rounds said.