Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Draper Alumna Brooke Borel Published in Popular Science

Great news from Draper alumna Brooke Borel, who has been working as a successful freelance science journalist since she graduated in 2007: her first long form article, entitled "Almost a Mile Below South Dakota, a Race to Find Dark Matter," has been published in January's issue of Popular Science. She also has pieces forthcoming in the same outlet later this year. Congrats, Brooke!

The piece begins:

"Between 1876 and 2002, the people of Lead, South Dakota, extracted $3.5 billion worth of gold from the Homestake mine. It was the town’s main business, and when falling prices and diminishing returns finally shut it down, no one was sure what to do with the remaining 8,000-foot hole in the ground. Then, in 2007, the National Science Foundation decided that an 8,000-foot hole would be the perfect place to put its proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL, a massive research complex that will include the world’s deepest underground lab.

Now a team of physicists and former miners has converted Homestake’s shipping warehouse into a new surface-level laboratory at the Sanford Underground Laboratory. They've painted the walls and baseboards white and added yellow floor lines to steer visitors around giant nitrogen tanks, locker-size computers and plastic-shrouded machine parts. Soon they will gather many of these components into the lab’s clean room and combine them into LUX, the Large Underground Xenon dark-matter detector, which they will then lower halfway down the mine, where—if all goes well—it will eventually detect the presence of a few particles of dark matter, the as-yet-undetected invisible substance that may well be what holds the universe together."

To read Brooke's article in full, see the Popular Science website, here:

To read a 2009 interview Draper conducted with Brooke about science journalism, check out in.ter.reg.num's archives, here:

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