A Nobel pursuit

[Connor Stone, Queen's Observatory]Connor Stone, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy and the coordinator Queen's Observatory, will be attending the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 

Connor Stone, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy has found himself in some exclusive company after being selected to take part in the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting from June 30-July 5, an event that brings together Nobel Laureates in physics as well as 580 post-secondary students from 89 countries.

Stone specializes in galaxy physics and is the coordinator of the Queen’s Observatory and says that he is honoured to have been given the opportunity to meet and speak with so many of the world’s top minds in physics.

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“I am really looking forward to talking to people who are in a field of physics completely different from mine and understanding the big problems that they are grappling with,” Stone says.

Helping him along the way was Queen’s own Nobel Laureate, Professor Emeritus Art McDonald, who forwarded Stone for consideration as part of the multi-tiered application process, while the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute facilitated the nomination.

Stone’s breadth of interests and his strong physics and calculational ability led to his selection, explains Dr. McDonald.

The selection committee also looks for candidates who, after attending the Lindau Conference, will share what they have learned with their colleagues and the public once they return home.

Stone stood out in this regard. Along with his work at the observatory, he organizes a journals club for the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, as well as a data science group focused upon machine learning and data visualization.

“Since I do the observatory, the journals club, and the data visualization group, I will be able to take what I learn and the connections that I develop, and bring them back to Queen’s and share them with the public, the graduate students and the faculty because I am organizing connections with all of them,” he says. “I already like to connect people between different fields of physics so this is perfect for me.”

At the Lindau Conference the young scientists have the opportunity to hear from the Nobel Laureates and there are activities and opportunities for the students to interact. For example, Stone will be taking part in a Science Walk guided by a Nobel Laureate that will tour sites of scientific relevance.

“I think some of the more casual interactions will be the most important,” Stone adds. “These are the best people for me to network with, either at the top of their field or up and coming.”

The Lindau Conference is an amazing opportunity for the attendees, says Dr. McDonald.

“In my discussions with previous attendees they all said that the opportunity to hear from Nobel Laureates spanning all fields of physics, the chance to interact with them personally and the presence of nearly 600 excellent students from across the world, leads to a truly unique educational and personal experience,” he says.

Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.