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Researcher digs deep

The search for dark matter continues in earnest at SNOLAB and the scientific team in Sudbury has a new research ally in Gilles Gerbier (Physics), the newest Canada Excellence Research Chair. In the four months since his arrival in Kingston, Dr. Gerbier has been busy setting up his home base at Queen’s and his lab two kilometres below the surface in the Vale Creighton mine.

Gilles Gerbier is working hard to establish his research facilities at SNOLAB and also at Queen's.

A world-leading researcher in particle astrophysics, Dr. Gerbier is currently setting up a major collaborative project on cryogenic detectors for dark matter discovery, one of the most advanced detectors to date. This international research collaboration is pulling in 20 scientific teams from North America and 15 teams from Europe.

“My own technical contribution involves installing a detector tower test facility at SNOLAB,” explains Dr. Gerbier. “My expectations for the coming year are to start operating my lab at Queen’s, gather the parts needed for the facility and prepare to assemble it starting in 2016. SNOLAB is providing me with excellent opportunities.”

Dr. Gerbier is also preparing a second project of a two metre in diameter gaseous spherical detector at SNOLAB. He has met with research teams from France and Greece and the technical team at SNOLAB to determine the scope of the detector project.

Closer to home, Dr. Gerbier has hired one PhD candidate to work with him and invited two post-doctoral fellows and another PhD candidate to join his laboratory starting in the spring. They are coming to Queen’s from Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

SNOLAB and the Queen’s University Particle Astrophysics group, including Dr. Gerbier, were recently featured in Horizon 2020 report, which describes the European community’s strategic long-term science projects in Europe. SNOLAB is also gaining further international recognition after the DEAP-3600 dark matter detector was featured in National Geographic.

Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions in Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines.