Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Laurentian Support Letter


April 28, 2021

The Honourable Ross Romano
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities

Dear Minister Romano,

I write on behalf of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy at Queen’s University to express our grave misgivings about the CCAA process currently underway at Laurentian University in Sudbury, and the closure of important programs and departments.  Laurentian University is a critical institution in Northeastern Ontario and provides high quality education for the students of Sudbury and the region.  The cuts imposed through the CCAA process gut the university, leaving it without key programs like Mathematics and Physics.  Without support from the provincial government to counteract these cuts, this institution will be crippled, no longer able to provide these students with the opportunity to grow and become leaders for Ontario.

We are in particular concerned about the closing of the Department of Physics at Laurentian, and the termination of the staff and faculty.  The Department of Physics at Laurentian has long been closely connected with ours since the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) involved close collaboration between the departments. This amazingly successful experiment, which won its leader Art McDonald the Nobel prize in Physics in 2015, could not have succeeded without the work of colleagues at Laurentian.  SNOLAB, the world-leading facility which extends and broadens this research, involves 5 faculty members, 15 graduate students and 4 postdoctoral researchers all from Laurentian. The closure of this department, likely motivated by undergraduate enrollment, ignores the important and prestigious role that Laurentian plays in world-leading research. With the substantial research grants supporting this research and the funding of one professor fully through the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute, the Physics department at Laurentian brings in far more funding than its undergraduate enrollment alone indicates.

Prof. Emeritus Art McDonald spoke at length about this issue to the CBC ( ). Together with him, we urge the provincial government to support Laurentian as an important institution for Sudbury, to support the Physics department in particular, and to support this world-leading group of scientists.


Robert Knobel
Head, Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy
Queen’s University
cc. Ian Arthur, and published at