South Dakota Mines

A larger company has acquired a South Dakota startup that began with research by two university professors.

Todd Menkhaus and Hao Fong started their research in 2006 at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City.

They study nanofibers, which Menkhaus described as "really, really small-diameter fibers."

"They’re about a thousand times smaller than a human hair," Menkhaus said. "So you can imagine how tiny these things are.”

STEAM Café: Katrina Donovan

Sep 14, 2020

In The Moment … September 14, 2020 Show 901 Hour 1

Materials are objects that are created from matter and have been utilized by society for many years. This is the subject for the next STEAM Café which is tomorrow evening at 6 at Hay Camp Brewing Company in Rapid City. Katrina Donovan is a lecturer at South Dakota Mines and will lead this conversation.

Science and Technology reporting is brought to you by SDN Communications, your business broadband provider. Learn more at

Dr. Hoffman Talks Politics & Covid

Sep 8, 2020
Sanford Health

In The Moment … September 8, 2020 Show 897 Hour 1

The scientific method is, by definition, nonpartisan, and unbiased. And yet in an America where political division threatens to be the rule, not the exception, politicized science can cloud how a nation responds to a pandemic. And that can erode trust and put lives at risk.  Dr. Wendell Hoffman is an infectious disease specialist and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. He writes about the destructive bias of politicized science in South Dakota Medicine. 

COVID-19 Update With Dr. Hoffman

Jul 13, 2020

In The Moment … July 13, 2020 Show 857 Hour 1

As COVID-19 cases surge nationwide, South Dakotans ask questions about whether or not Sars CovV-2 can be spread by asymptomatic people. How sure are we about the efficacy of wearing masks to slow the spread of the disease? The pandemic provides continued opportunity to search for clarity. Today we welcome back Dr. Wendell Hoffman. He's an infectious disease doctor with Sanford Health.

Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City

Neutrino Day With Constance Walter

Jul 6, 2020

In The Moment … July 6, 2020 Show 852 Hour 1

This week the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead presents "Neutrino Day: A Matter of Mystery" only this year, it's virtual. You can expect speakers, live chats with scientists, hands-on activities, Native American games, Science Steve, contests and facility tours, and even a science comedian. Constance Walter, the facilities communications director, joins us with more.

Neutrino Day With Brian Malow

Jul 6, 2020

In The Moment … July 6, 2020 Show 852 Hour 1

Brian Malow is a science comedian who has performed for both general audiences and specialized groups. Those groups include Apple and Microsoft. His Neil Armstrong routine was even heard aboard an orbiting space shuttle. This Saturday at 2 pm, he's the featured speaker at Neutrino Day with an appearance called Just Add Gravity. He joins us with more.

Dr. Jason Knutsen Bring Us A COVID-19 Update

Jun 29, 2020

In The Moment … June 29, 2020 Show 848 Hour 1

South Dakota has recorded our first case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in a child. Research scientists are learning more about the tentacles of Sars-CoV-2, and cities across the nation are grappling with opening up, surges in cases, and locking back down.  It's time for our weekly check-in on what we know about COVID-19 here in South Dakota. Joining us this week is Dr. Jason Knutson, a Family Medicine Physician with Avera. Health reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City 

Bush Fellow: Beau White

Jun 25, 2020
Bush Foundation

In The Moment … June 25, 2020 Show 846 Hour 1

We're taking time this week to meet the 2020 Bush Fellows and we welcome two more to In The Moment today. Beau White is one of the first people from the Pine Ridge Reservation to graduate college with an engineering degree. His passion is building interest in science, technology, engineering, and math among Native Americans.

"Teachers Of The Year" Offer Teaching From Home Tips

Apr 29, 2020

In The Moment ... April 28, 2020 Show 806 Hour 1

Science, Religion, & The Myth Of Conflict

Feb 27, 2020

In The Moment ... February 27, 2020 Show 762 Hour 2

Future Of Faith: George Tsakiridis

Jan 30, 2020
George Tsakiridis

In The Moment ... January 30, 2020 Show 744 Hour 2 We live in an age where science has answered so many big questions that many struggle to reconcile faith and science. Our next guest says, "When we study science, it is not an absolute truth - just within the parameters of that experiment. When people make science the absolute ideal for all truth, they miss out on the broader idea of what it means to have something be true. Faith is rooted in the internal core of who we are as human beings.

Chris Laughery

In The Moment ... September 25, 2019 Show 666 Hour 2

This month we've been investigating the state of preschool education in South Dakota. We've visited with educators and administrators, lawmakers and parents. Today, we have a little fun with SDPB's Science Steve. He brings science lessons for early learning to spark the mind and the imagination.

Education and healthcare reporting on SDPB is supported by Regional Health, helping patients and communities live well

In The Moment ... March 4, 2019 Show 527 Hour 2

Girls looking at careers in STEM fields, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics, have an opportunity to listen to experts and, perhaps, find mentors along the way during the Women in Science Conference Tuesday at Northern State University in Aberdeen.

Amy Parkin, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in Aberdeen, and Dr. Courtney Waid-Lindberg, associate professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at NSU, visit about the conference and their respective fields.

SDPB's Cara Hetland is underground at the 4850 foot level of the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead. This year marks 10 years of Neutrino Day. Christopher Mossey is the Deputy Director for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility. He talks about the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment and what it takes to collaborate with scientists from more than 30 countries to get this experiment up and running.

Talithia Williams Previews NOVA Wonders

Apr 23, 2018

In The Moment ... April 23, 2018 Show 321 Hour 2

NOVA tackles the biggest questions on the frontiers of science in a new six-part series called NOVA Wonders. The first episode airs on SDPB-TV this Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Central.

One of NOVA Wonders' three hosts is mathematician Talithia Williams. Her TED talk "Own Your Body's Data" celebrates the power of personal data collection. She's the author of the book Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics.

In The Moment ... October 26, 2017 Show 207 Hour 1

Follow a team of experts investigating the Great Hurricane of 1780 that killed more people than any other Caribbean hurricane. Historical evidence points toward the future ... and what we can expect as the ocean warms and sea levels rise. NOVA's "Killer Hurricanes" airs on Wednesday, November 1st at 8 p.m. Central, 7 Mountain on SDPB-TV.

Victoria Wicks

There is a difference between science and science fiction, of course. But the two converge at events like Comic Con. At the Denver Comic Con this summer, real scientists included three students and a lecturer from the physics department at the School of Mines and Technology.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Biotechnology is a booming business, and South Dakota companies are competing with organizations around the globe. Local scientists pioneer medicine, agriculture, manufacturing, and research. A researcher-turned-business developer outlines his assessment for area investors and scientists in an extended interview.

South Dakota Biotech's annual summit brought professionals together for the discussion, and some future scientists help equip fellow kids.

Sioux Falls researchers are employing light to open blood vessels. The US Food and Drug Administration is green-lighting a trial that could help patients who suffer from peripheral vascular disease. Doctors say more than 8 million people live with the condition.

Research leaders say the FDA okays a study that uses NVS to treat PVD. Acronyms aside, leaders have the go-ahead for a clinical trial. It may determine whether a new combination of a medical device and a drug can help people with leg problems related to their blood vessels.

Kara Frame/NPR

In The Moment ... May 30, 2017 Show 103 Hour 2

Each person has different biological traits based on family lineage, and scientists are finding certain cultures and ethnic groups have unique biological traits. That information can change genetic research that aims to improves lives.

Cara Hetland

In The Moment ... March 27, 2017 Show 058 Hour 2

Lisa Gardner is the department chair and the Sammons Group Director of the School of Actuarial Science and Risk Management and the EMC Insurance Center Director at Drake University. She joins us from her office in Des Moines to talk about health insurance risk and give the us the basics behind the insurance industry. We spoke earlier and begin with the basic risks behind the Affordable Care Act.

Larry Deiter is the South Dakota Insurance Commissioner and joins the conversation now to talk about the industry in South Dakota.

Photo by Dr. Ben Sharp

Scientists in Antarctica are moving research camps because of a 100 mile long crack moving across the world’s southernmost continent. They’re also concerned that a substantial portion of Antarctica will fall into the sea. .But not everything in “The Land of Ice” is threatened. In fact, the world’s largest marine protected area was recently created in the Ross Sea.

Mammoth Site Researches Rare Mammoth Skull

Feb 6, 2017
Courtesy National Park Service

Scientists from The Mammoth Site at Hot Springs are in Santa Barbara, California this week to take part in research on a mammoth skull. The findings may bring startling results from the rare mammoth fossil that was unearthed last year at Channel Islands National Park.

Justin Wilkins is the in situ bone bed curator at The Mammoth Site. He’s part of  its research team at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. 


Supporters of a bill in South Dakota’s Statehouse say it maximizes academic freedom in the classroom, and its opponents say the measure is anti-science. Senate Bill 55 has passed two of the four hurdles to Governor Dennis Daugaard’s desk.

The bill is one sentence long. It says, “No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.”

Photo by Jim Kent

The Mammoth Site has unveiled a temporary exhibit that’s part of a new program called “What’s In Your Backyard”…and that has nothing do with mammoths. The goal is to create more of a community atmosphere for those interested in paleontology as well as to expand education of the general public.

Chief scientist Jim Mead says the annual meeting of The Mammoth Site membership is always an exciting time especially when unveiling a new exhibit and a new program.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Leaders use the phrase "workforce shortage" often as South Dakota sees low unemployment and a mismatch of skills with job openings. Local hospitals and clinics are not immune. One area health organizations is paying to train students for positions they can’t fill. In turn, students learn on-the-job during internships and commit to staying in town for a few years.

Innovation: Mel Ustad

Jan 13, 2017

Mel Ustad joined Innovation to discuss the programs in place to help science and technology companies grow in South Dakota. Ustad is the Director of Commercialization at the Governor's Office of Economic Development.


Roger Dietrich/

The 117th Christmas Bird Count is underway. The nationwide event is sponsored by the National Audubon Society, it gives bird enthusiasts the chance to get outside during the winter months to document avian species in their areas.

Volunteers monitor a fifteen mile radius to record bird species. Sometimes, the findings are unusual.

In South Dakota, around 20 bird counts are set to take place over the next couple of weeks, including one in Pine Ridge.

National Fossil Day In South Dakota

Oct 12, 2016
Courtesy SDSM&T

It’s National Fossil Day. The National Park Service set aside this day in 2009.  The annual celebration is focused on promoting public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as fostering a greater appreciation for their scientific and educational value. 

Badlands National Park is known for its eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires. But Education Technician Ed Welsh says the area has a significant paleontological history.