Arrange to attend (under)groundbreaking for NuMI neutrino detector hall on Tuesday, July 20, 199, from 1 to 3 p.m.

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Soudan, Minnesota–On Tuesday, July 20, 1999, scientists and officials of the U.S. Department of Energy, the State of Minnesota, DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Minnesota will break ground in a former iron mine, now a Minnesota state park. They will inaugurate construction of an underground cavern to house a new detector to study the subatomic particles called neutrinos.

Physicists at Fermilab, near Chicago, will direct a beam of neutrinos from the Fermilab particle accelerator to the Soudan Mine, a distance of 450 miles. Beginning in 2003, scientists of MINOS (Main Injector Neutrinos Oscillation Study) will use the 10,000-ton steel detector to determine whether neutrinos possess mass. The construction and operation of the project will have a significant positive impact on the economy of the Soudan-Tower area of northeastern Minnesota.

After a 1:00 p.m. luncheon above ground, the “undergroundbreaking” will take place in the mine, with officials and scientists wielding pick-axes and making brief remarks. Besides local and U.S. officials, the event’s organizers have invited Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. Congressman James Oberstar will make a videotaped statement.

To help us coordinate press access for this event, we ask that you call (630-840-3351) or email ( the Fermilab Office of Public Affairs for credentials. Complete details of the day’s activities and information about travel and accommodations are available from Judy Treend in the Fermilab Office of Public Affairs (630-840-3351), Dr. Earl Peterson at the University of Minnesota (612-624-0319) or Jim Beaty at the Soudan Laboratory (218-753-6611).

Fermilab is a Department of Energy National Laboratory dedicated to frontier research in the field of particle physics. More than 90 percent of the funding for federally sponsored research in particle physics is provided by DOE. Fermilab is operated by Universities Research Association, Inc. under contract with DOE.

For more information, call Fermilab’s Public Affairs Office at (630) 840-3351.