Phone: 612-624-5551
24-hr number: 612-293-0831

Advanced Search

Media Advisory.

Media Advisory

Officials to break ground on cutting-edge international physics lab in Northern Minnesota

Federal stimulus funds help jump start the project involving researchers from the U

Media Note: Media representatives planning to attend the groundbreaking event are asked to call the Fermilab Office of Communications at (630) 840-3351 or e-mail Kathryn Grim at for a map and specific directions to the site.

Contacts: Ryan Mathre, University News Service, (612) 625-0552,
Rhonda Zurn, Institute of Technology, (612) 626-7959,
Kathryn Grim, Fermilab Office of Communication, (630) 840-4406,

April 27, 2009

Two U.S. congressmen and other top ranking officials from the U.S. Department of Energy, University of Minnesota and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will break ground at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 1 near Bright Star Road, Ash River, Minn., for a new NuMI Off-Axis Electron Neutrino Appearance (NOvA) detector facility, the future home of the world’s most advanced neutrino experiment. The construction site is located about 40 miles southeast of International Falls, Minn.

Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony include Minnesota 8th District Congressman James Oberstar, Illinois 14th District Congressman Bill Foster, U.S. Department of Energy Associate Director of Science and Nuclear Physics Dennis Kovar, University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks, University Vice President Tim Mulcahy, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Director Pier Oddone and NOvA Collaboration co-spokesperson Gary Feldman.

The invitation-only groundbreaking event will be followed by a public reception and presentation at 4 p.m. at the Orr American Legion Highway 53, Orr, Minn., where members of the community can hear the latest updates regarding the new, cutting-edge NOvA laboratory. The reception will include displays of the project and a meet and greet with NOvA collaborators. The public presentation will begin at 5 p.m. and will include an overview of the project, the project schedule and the impact on the local community.

The NOvA Detector Facility is a new international physics laboratory of the University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy. Construction of the new cutting-edge detector facility, supported under a $45 million cooperative agreement for research between the Department of Energy and the University of Minnesota, is expected to generate 60 to 80 jobs in the area over the next two years. In addition, the construction will result in procurements for concrete, steel, road-building materials and mechanical, and electrical equipment from U.S. firms.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing $40.1 million in funding for the project. Fermilab, which manages the project, has committed an additional $9.9 million in stimulus funding to purchasing key high-tech components for the project from U.S. companies, allowing those firms to retain and hire workers.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Duluth campuses will collaborate with approximately 180 scientists and engineers from 28 institutions in seven countries to build a 15,000-ton neutrino detector and install this device in the laboratory. When the new neutrino laboratory is completed, The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will send an intense neutrino beam from Fermilab in Illinois to the NOvA Detector Facility. The project will advance the study of neutrinos, fundamental building blocks of matter that are essential in helping researchers discover how the Universe was formed and how it will develop in the future.

Tags: College of Science and Engineering

Share This Story