Nobel Laureate earns international honour
Arthur McDonald named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Queen’s University professor emeritus and Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He joins only 15 other Queen’s academics, starting with Alfred Lothrop in 1915, who have earned this honour since the Association was formed in 1848.
The world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society, the AAAS has members in more than 91 countries around the globe. This year 443 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
Dr. McDonald is being honoured “For leading the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory scientific collaboration in the discovery of neutrino oscillations” and his role in establishing the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), now SNOLAB, located in Vale’s Creighton Mine near Sudbury.
“It is indeed an honour to receive this award for our scientific work from this respected organization,” Dr. McDonald says. “I hope that our success will inspire future scientists in understanding our world at a very fundamental level.”
Joining Queen’s in 1989 as a professor in the physics department, Dr. McDonald worked as the director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), 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. This finding confirmed that these fundamental particles have a finite mass and that the current models for energy generation in the sun are very accurate.
For his research efforts, Dr. McDonald was named the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics for SNO’s research into neutrinos, one of the fundamental particles that make up the universe. In 2016, he and the SNO Collaboration members were awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, an award that recognizes profound contributions to human knowledge.
After being awarded $63.7 million through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Queen’s University unveiled the new Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute in May 2018. The institute is a partnership of eight universities and five affiliated research organizations headquartered at Queen’s. In total, 100 people, including faculty, staff, and students across the country are members of the institute, all working to advance its research and outreach goals, carrying on the legacy of Dr. McDonald.
“Dr. McDonald has created a lasting legacy at Queen’s and inspired a generation of young scientists,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “He has also contributed significantly to our knowledge of the world around us and opened up exciting new possibilities in the study of astrophysics.”
New Fellows will be presented and an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin on Saturday, Feb. 15 during the AAAS annual meeting in Seattle. AAAS is the publisher of the high-impact journal, Science, established in 1848.
Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.