Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Dr. Daniel R. Woolf

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Dr. Daniel R. Woolf

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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Introducing the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute

Principal Woolf makes the official announcement of the new Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute.
May 10, 2018


Good morning, everyone.

I’m pleased to be here today because not only will this event mark a historic moment for research at Queen’s, but also for each of our partner institutions, and Canadian scientific research as a whole. In particular, I want to give a special hello and welcome, bonjour et bienvenue, to our partners across Canada watching today’s announcement through our live stream. Thank you for joining us.

In every corner of our university, you’ll find researchers working hard to solve the world’s problems and answer some big questions. An area of undeniable strength and excellence for Queen’s is in our physics, engineering physics and astronomy department where researchers working in nanomaterials, photonics, cosmology, computing, nuclear and medical physics, among others, have made great advances and helped position Queen’s as a leader in this area of research.  

But, when you think about how far we’ve come as a collective in the area of astroparticle physics research over the past 30 years, you can’t help but marvel at the significant accomplishments we’ve made. Those in the room today who were at the beginning of the SNO experiments perhaps did not conceive that the journey would include such exciting discoveries and accolades including the Breakthrough Prize in Physics, millions of dollars in research funding, and of course, the Nobel. Not to mention the fact that we are attracting the world’s best to Canada to advance our research strength in this area.

At Queen’s, we are privileged to have Gilles Gerbier as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Particle Astrophysics as well as Tony Noble, the Scientific Director of CPARC, and Mark Chen, the Patricia and Gordon Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics, just to name a few of the remarkably talented researchers based here. With the success of our researchers has come funding to help advance the science and grow the research network to where we are now. The success of this enterprise is made even sweeter because of the partnerships and collaborations we have forged along the way. 

The exploration and findings that the research network has uncovered, and are working to discover, remind me of the mission of another enterprise. One that claims, “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” Although, I have to say, as a grammarian it kills me to split an infinitive, so I will rephrase that by saying, “to go boldly where no one has gone before.” 

The people behind this partnership, while not travelling through space, are exploring new frontiers of what makes up our universe and how it came to be. While the dimensions of the particles they are researching are minute, the implications of these discoveries are monumental, and fundamental to the very properties of science as we know it. They are asking big questions and confronting ideas and theories to find new truths, measurements and proof to help future generations of scientists navigate the far reaches of physics, allowing them to develop new technologies with the knowledge of the key properties of these important building blocks.

Canada is considered a world-class destination for astroparticle physics research. That cannot be credited to the work of one institution alone, but from many working together: our partners across the country. So, for today’s announcement, I am delighted to be accompanied by Sandra Crocker, Associate Vice-President (Strategic Initiatives and Operations) at Carleton University, one of our initial university partners working as part of the SNO and SNOLAB collaborations, and most recently a partner in CPARC, who would now like to say a few words.


Almost two years ago, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund awarded more than $63 million dollars to create a Canadian astroparticle physics research centre. This funding has enabled the network to grow, expand what we know is possible, and look towards a bright future. With the experiments and collaboration taking place throughout the partner institutions, we can achieve breakthroughs and discoveries in a much quicker timeframe.

I am excited for the next big breakthrough and announcement signaling a major discovery and win for science in Canada. Because as far as we’ve come to get to today, there is still a long road ahead of us with more incredible milestones along the way. With this success and potential, we are excited about the momentum that’s been building, and feel confident we are on the precipice of an exciting new chapter, particularly as new experiments related to the mysteries of dark matter are being explored.

And, I promise we won’t keep you in the dark about this announcement much longer.  

In choosing a name and identify for this network, it was important to recognize past achievements while charting a course for the future. We want to build on that legacy and momentum while honouring an individual who embodies the values of leadership, integrity and collaboration; who pushes scientific boundaries, and inspires the hearts and minds of researchers and science enthusiasts alike. Someone who continually is searching to not only make important scientific connections, but human ones between brilliant minds already advanced in these studies, and those of students looking to make their mark.

I am sure many of you will agree with me that there is no one more deserving nor appropriate to honour in this way than Dr. Arthur McDonald.

So, with all of you present today and watching via live stream, it is our distinct pleasure and absolute honour to officially launch the ARTHUR B. MCDONALD CANADIAN ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS RESEARCH INSTITUTE.