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Exhibit offers interactive look at Nobel Prize-winning research

The Queen’s and Kingston communities will soon have the opportunity to see where Nobel Laureate Art McDonald and his team conducted their ground-breaking physics experiments without travelling two kilometres underground. 

[Dr. McDonald with SNOLAB collaborators]
An upcoming exhibit will explore the new experiments that current Queen's researchers and students (pictured above) are conducting at the SNOLAB underground facility in Sudbury. (Photo by Bernard Clark) 

The interactive exhibit, New Eyes on the Universe, is coming to Queen’s University this spring. The exhibit highlights the discoveries of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) project. Dr. McDonald shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics for this experiment that proved that solar neutrinos change their flavour enroute to Earth, an important discovery for explaining the nature of matter and the structure of the universe.

New Eyes on the Universe also explores the ways in which the current SNOLAB facilities and experiments continue to push the frontiers in particle astrophysics.

“The exhibit is a wonderful way to bring the Queen’s community closer to the work our team did in Sudbury as well as the research that continues at the facility,” Dr. McDonald says. “We are excited to share the exhibit with the local region as well as with many of our colleagues who will come to campus for the annual congress of the Canadian Association of Physicists in June.”

[Queen's 175th logo]
Queen's 175th anniversary

Queen’s is hosting the exhibit as part of its 175th anniversary celebrations, which will conclude later this summer.

New Eyes on the Universe is a fitting way to cap our 175th anniversary,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “Over the past year, we have reflected on Queen’s monumental contributions, while also contemplating what the future holds for the university. Similarly, this exhibit allows visitors to celebrate Dr. McDonald and his colleagues’ outstanding accomplishments and learn about the ways in which Queen’s researchers, now and in the future, will play a leading role in unlocking the mysteries of the universe.”

Intimate and Interactive

The exhibit’s 40 panels present spectacular images of the history and development of SNO and SNOLAB, which is located two kilometres below the surface in the Vale Creighton Mine near Sudbury, Ont. Video kiosks let visitors explore themes and offer a virtual tour of SNOLAB. Through a life-size virtual display, Dr. McDonald presents information about the work of SNO and SNOLAB and his perspective on the future.

The exhibit also includes a section on the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics, which Dr. McDonald shared with Japanese physicist Takaaki Kajita. There are images from Nobel Week in Stockholm and a display of the Nobel Medal, citation, and artwork.

Exhibit artifacts include unique detector components developed especially for SNO, as well as a scale model of the SNO detector. Another area of the exhibit shares interviews with young scientists who started their scientific careers with SNO.

New Eyes on the Universe will be on display in the atrium of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre from May 27-July 7. Admission to the exhibit and the Agnes is free for everyone.

The New Eyes on the Universe exhibit is owned and circulated by SNOLAB. The exhibit debuted on July 1, 2016 at Canada House, Trafalgar Square in London, and it is touring across Canada this year.

The SNOLAB Institute is operated under a trust agreement between Queen’s University, Carleton University, University of Alberta, Laurentian University, Université de Montréal, and Vale, and includes external and international membership from both academic and industrial sectors.