From Stockholm to Memorial Hall

From Stockholm to Memorial Hall

Nobel laureate Art McDonald to deliver public lecture on neutrinos at Kingston City Hall.

By Chris Moffatt Armes

December 2, 2016


Nobel laureate and Queen’s professor emeritus Arthur McDonald (Physics) will deliver a public lecture on Dec. 7 at Kingston City Hall. The lecture, presented in partnership by the university and Kingston mayor Bryan Paterson, will touch on a wide array of topics – from the origins of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) collaboration and the Nobel-winning research that it produced, to a reflection on some of the events that have transpired since Dr. McDonald received the prize.

[Art McDonald]
Dr. McDonald's lecture, presented in partnership by Queen's University and the City of Kingston, will take attendees through the span of his groundbreaking career - from the early days of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory project, to the Vale Mine in Sudbury where the experiment took place, to centre stage in Stockholm where Dr. McDonald received the Nobel Prize.

"I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak to the Kingston community about the science that our team performed that won the Nobel Prize, as well as the science that we continue to perform at one of the lowest radioactivity locations in the world – SNOLAB,” says Dr. McDonald. “This science provides a clearer description of the most fundamental particles in our universe and contributes to our understanding of how the sun burns, how our universe has evolved and its basic composition. I will also discuss some of the fascinating and fun experiences that have occurred over the past year since the award of the Nobel Prize."

Dr. McDonald was named the co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, and shared in the SNO collaboration’s receipt of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, for research he led on the properties of neutrinos. Working two kilometers below the Earth’s surface in Sudbury, Ontario, the SNO collaboration demonstrated that neutrinos change their type – or flavour – on their way to Earth from the sun, which indicates that they have non-zero mass.

“Universities have an important role to play in the dissemination of knowledge from the world of academia to the public at large,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “Public lectures, such as these, give members of the community the opportunity to learn more about the research taking place within their own hometown, and the opportunity to learn from a celebrated and distinguished researcher, such as Dr. McDonald, promises to be a memorable experience.”

In the year since he received the Nobel Prize, Dr. McDonald has delivered lectures and public presentations around the world. He has been inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia and promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada, been lauded at Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill, and named to the Government of Canada’s Advisory Panel for the Review of Federal Support for Fundamental Science.

“Kingston’s vision is to be a smart and livable city,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson. “As we advance this vision we look for opportunities to connect with the innovative ideas and research coming out of our postsecondary institutions. This lecture is an opportunity to connect Kingstonians with the significant and impactful research happening at Queen’s University. Dr. McDonald’s research in particle physics is historic and fundamental to opening new avenues into the exploration of the properties of our universe. I am very much looking forward to welcoming Dr. McDonald to City Hall to share with us his groundbreaking Nobel Prize winning research.”

The work conducted as part of the SNO collaboration and subsequently at SNOLAB has led to groundbreaking results cementing Canada’s, and Queen’s, reputation as a world leader in the field.  Building on this history of success, Queen’s is home to Gilles Gerbier, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Particle Astrophysics, and, earlier this year, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund provided Queen’s with a significant investment to support the creation of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC). The centre will help facilitate a number of leading-edge projects, including the next-generation SNO+ experiment, which will allow Queen’s and its partner institutions to continue the trajectory of research excellence inspired by Dr. McDonald and his colleagues.

The lecture, titled Neutrinos, Nobel and the Nature of the Universe, will take place at Kingston City Hall, in Memorial Hall, on Dec. 7 beginning at 6:30 pm. Seating is limited, and those wishing to attend are encouraged to register – either by phone at 613-533-6000 x77623, or by email at

Arts and Science