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Underground lab proposed

US facility would include work at frontiers of geobiology

Eugene Russo(erusso@the-scientist.com)

WASHINGTON DC — Physicists, geologists, and biologists came together from around the world last week to promote the construction of a multi-disciplinary, subterranean laboratory in the United States. Research and proposals were discussed at the three-day workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and organized by the University of Maryland. Though underground laboratories exist elsewhere in the world, including Italy and Japan, the proposed new lab, which has been under consideration for the past few years, would be the first of its kind in the United States.

For physicists seeking to do highly sensitive projects like high-energy neutrino, double beta-decay and dark matter experiments, working underground means avoiding experiment-foiling interference from cosmic radiation. For geologists, the lab would offer a rare opportunity to directly study fractures in the Earth's crust. And for biologists, the lab would enable researchers to study the evolution, adaptation, and limits of microbial life...

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