Queen's physicist awarded prestigious Killam Prize
Queen’s University Physics professor Art McDonald is one of five pre-eminent Canadian researchers to receive a 2010 Killam Prize.
The $100,000-prizes are Canada’s most distinguished awards for outstanding career achievements in health sciences, engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. They are presented annually by the Canada Council for the Arts. Dr. McDonald’s award is in the field of natural sciences.
“Dr. McDonald has made amazing contributions to fundamental science and I am delighted that his efforts have been recognized with the Killam Prize,” says Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry Rowe. “His dedication to answering some of the big questions about the universe and his skill in dealing with the many technical and non-technical complexities associated with doing ‘big science’ are incredibly impressive. His contributions are something of which we at Queen’s – and all Canadians – should be proud.”
A world-renowned expert in nuclear and particle physics, Dr. McDonald’s scientific achievements span more than four decades. He returned to Canada from Princeton University in 1989 to head up Queen’s Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), located in a northern Ontario nickel mine. Working in the world’s deepest underground laboratory, the SNO team discovered that neutrinos (sub-atomic particles considered the basic building blocks of the universe) change from one type to another on their journey to Earth from the sun.
“These results are helping to guide theoretical studies of how neutrinos are to be included in the Standard Model of Elementary particles and are motivating experiments at the new SNOLAB for further understanding neutrino properties and their effects in the early universe,” reads the Killam citation.
The Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics at Queen's, Dr. McDonald was named a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009 and a co-recipient in 2007 of the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics. Among his other honours are: the 2003 Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada's top scientist; the Bruno Pontecorvo Prize from Russia in 2005; and the Tom W. Bonner Prize, the American Physical Society’s top prize in nuclear physics, in 2003.
Past Killam Prize winners from Queen’s include professors John Smol (Biology) in 2009 and Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) and Will Kymlicka (Philosophy), both of whom received their awards in 2004.