Physics researcher awarded top Canadian science honour
Art McDonald (Physics) will accept the Henry Marshall Tory Medal, one of the highest honours in Canadian science, from the Royal Society of Canada at a ceremony in November.
“I am privileged to be the director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) scientific collaboration. This honour recognizes the excellent work that occurred as a result of that collaboration, and I gratefully accept it on behalf of my many scientific colleagues at SNO,” says Dr. McDonald.
Dr. McDonald earned the medal for his contributions to the advancement of sub-atomic physics and astrophysics. The SNO collaboration determined that neutrinos—elementary sub-atomic particles—change from one type to another while travelling from the core of the sun to earth. The findings resulted in changes to the laws of physics for elementary particles and confirmed calculations of energy generation in the sun with great accuracy. The team just submitted its final paper on the SNO experiment, providing the most accurate and complete results combining all phases of the project.
Dr. McDonald is now working on the SNO+ experiment. It has the potential to provide an accurate measurement of neutrino mass and to help explain the processes that generate matter in the early universe. He is also involved with DEAP, a new international experiment searching for dark matter particles thought to make up 25 per cent of the universe.
The SNO+ and DEAP experiments are led by Queen’s faculty Mark Chen and Mark Boulay and are located in the newly created international laboratory SNOLAB in Sudbury. Dr. McDonald is working on these experiments with post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students at Queen’s as well as teaching an undergraduate laboratory.