Celebrating the Nobel

Celebrating the Nobel

December 10, 2015


While Professor Emeritus Art McDonald was in Stockholm, Sweden on Thursday to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Queen’s community celebrated along with him.

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) and the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy hosted a special viewing of the ceremony at Stirling Hall. Faculty, staff and students, including a number of Dr. McDonald’s colleagues and collaborators, watched the broadcast in one of the building’s lecture theatres. As Dr. McDonald was introduced to receive the Nobel Prize from King Carl XVI Gustav, the Queen’s crowd broke out in applause.

The ceremony was the pinnacle of a hectic two months since the Oct. 6 announcement that Dr. McDonald was the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo, for their groundbreaking research on neutrinos.

While he was the one receiving the Nobel Prize, Dr. McDonald has emphasized the collaborative aspect of the Sudbury ­Neutrino Observatory, located in the Vale Creighton mine near Sudbury, including colleagues at Queen’s and other Canadian universities, as well as around the world.

For Queen’s and SNOLAB the award is certain to have a long and lasting positive effect.

“It’s very exciting,” says Marc Dignam, Head of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. “There was great excitement when it was announced and I think it’s fantastic for the department and for Queen’s. I think it will help raise the university’s profile around the world. The impact of the award is going to be really important.”

It was also a big day for those who have worked with the SNO program and continue to collaborate on the research.

“I am so pleased to see Art up there. He is a really deserving scientist and just a terrific person to work with,” says Mark Chen, the Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics, a position Dr. McDonald held before him. “(The Nobel Prize) is a demonstration that we in Canada, and also here at Queen’s, are doing world-leading research. We’ve been doing this for years and getting this sort of recognition will excite students and get them interested in science. They’ll also be able to appreciate that they can do top-level science here in Canada as well.”