role in underground science. Examples of landmark experiments in this country include the first observation of solar neutrino oscillations by the Brookhaven solar neutrino experiment begun in the 1960s in the Homestake mine in Lead, South Dakota;1 the first limits imposed by the Grand Unification Theory (GUT) on proton decay at the Irvine-Michigan-Brookhaven experiment in a Morton salt mine;2 and the pioneering solid-state direct-detection dark matter experiment, Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, in the Soudan mine.3 As the required sensitivity and scale of underground experiments grow, the need for new underground laboratory space has drawn the attention and proposals of research communities around the world (see Chapter 2). The U.S. particle and nuclear physics communities have identified certain underground experiments as a top priority for their fields in their long-range plans. Efforts to develop a major facility in the United States have resulted in a proposal for a facility, the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), to be located in the abandoned Homestake gold mine.4

The research to take place at DUSEL is described by the proponents as being built upon “four pillars,” or four physics quests of critical scientific importance—the search for dark matter, the study of neutrino oscillations, and investigations into whether protons decay and whether atoms can undergo neutrinoless double-beta decay. In the proposed initial suite of experiments, these four quests are addressed by the apparatus of three experiments (see Chapter 3). The proponents of DUSEL also describe three research tenets—that the facility provide opportunities for a diverse set of research efforts in subsurface engineering, the geosciences, and biosciences; that it allow other well-motivated experiments to take advantage of the unique capabilities of a world-class underground research facility; and that it provide a significant education and outreach program for visitors and the communities near the laboratory.

The principal underground laboratory space is to be located at 4,850 ft, where plans call for installing five or six physics experiments and at least one earth science experiment. The proponents’ plans also call for a deeper site, at 7,400 ft, where two smaller physics experiments and an earth science experiment would be located. Other research facilities could be installed at other levels, depending upon requirements of the experiments. Recently plans were developed that would allow for the installation of a liquid argon detector for the neutrino oscillation experiment at


1 R. Davis, Jr. 1964. Solar Neutrinos: II. Experimental. Physical Review Letters 12: 303.

2 R. Becker-Szendy, C.B. Bratton, D.R. Cady, et al. 1990. Search for proton decay into e+ + π0 in the IMB-3 detector. Physical Review D 42: 2974-2976.

3 D.S. Akerib, J. Alvaro-Dean, M.S. Armel-Funkhouser, et al. 2004. First results from the cryogenic dark matter search in the Soudan Underground Laboratory. Physical Review Letters 93: 211301.

4 “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver.” Proverbs 16:16 (New International Version).

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