Nerds Seeking WIMPs

7 August 2013

Standing by the detector. Ross Koberlein
Standing by the detector.

The Soudan Iron Mine in Northern Minnesota is home to several experiments in particle physics and cosmology. I’ve written about one of the projects there, known as the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS). Another experiment is Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS), which detects muon neutrinos produced at Fermilab in Northern Illinois. MINOS is about 48 feet long, and contains 6000 tons of steel layered between scintillators. The entire detector had to be lowered down a narrow mine shaft piece by piece and then assembled on site.

The mine is located near Tower-Soudan, which happens to be close to where family live. So yesterday I was able to visit the physics lab, located more than 2000 feet underground. The mine has daily tours during the Summer, so if you find yourself in the Northwoods of Minnesota, it’s worth making a visit.