Dr. Art McDonald – Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics, Queen’s; Director SNO Institute

EVENT DATE: December 11, 2008
TOPIC: Observing our Universe from 2 km Underground: SNO and the new SNOLAB

Dr Art McDonald was the Canadian Club of Kingston’s speaker at its luncheon meeting on Thursday, December 11.  He holds the Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics at Queen’s University, and is Director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Institute.   His topic was “Observing our Universe from 2 km underground.” 

Dr McDonald joined Queen’s in 1989.  He spearheads an international research project studying tiny particles emitted from the sun.   This is one of the most important scientific experiments being conducted in Canada today.  The SNO Laboratory is located 2 km underground in one of INCO’s old mines in Sudbury, Ontario.  It is designed to detect solar neutrinos and study major scientific questions such as the nature of dark matter.  He explains: “The research that we are doing … really bridges the entire universe. We … try to understand the most detailed things about the universe, how it was created and evolved; in short, the origins of the universe.”

Dr McDonald is an Officer of the Order of Canada.  He and his team have received some of the world’s most prestigious prizes in physics. They include the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (past winners Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Marie and Pierre Curie), and the Bruno Pontecorvo Prize, the world’s top award in particle physics.