For the second year in a row, the Experimental Mine at Missouri University of Science and Technology – home to a popular summer Explosives Camp for high school juniors and seniors – tops a list of “Awesome College Labs” as determined by Popular Science magazine. The rankings appear in the magazine’s September issue.
The Experimental Mine, located on Bridge School Road in southeast Rolla, also features demolition and blasting experiments, where students gain practical experience for industrial and mining careers.
“To rank the coolest labs in the country, we factored in groundbreaking research, undergrad access and sheer awesomeness,” Popular Science explains in its website introduction to what it calls the “coolest places in the U.S. to pursue science.” At the Experimental Mine, S&T students “learn how to implode buildings, design fireworks displays, blast smooth slices of stone of quarry walls, run pyrotechnics at rock concerts, and set off special effects fireballs on movie sets.”
The Missouri S&T Experimental Mine consists of an underground mine, adjacent quarry, and classrooms and labs. There, mining engineering and other Missouri S&T students gain practical experience in surveying methods and practice, mine ventilation, rock mechanics measurements, geological mapping, mine equipment power systems, groundwater testing, drilling and blasting practice, and mine safety and health.
This is the second year the facility has earned the top spot in Popular Science‘s rankings.
The mine has been a part of the university since 1914. Today, the Experimental Mine is also the focal point for Missouri S&T’s explosives engineering program, which is a specialty of the mining engineering department. Missouri S&T offers a master’s degree in explosives engineering – the first formal program of its kind in the country – as well as a minor for undergraduate students. It is also the site of an annual mine rescue competition involving rescue teams from mining companies throughout the United States. Missouri S&T’s student mine rescue team, the only one of its kind in the nation, also takes part in the event.