Speaker: Prof Art McDonald

Venue: Inkanyezi Building Auditorium
Date: 29 Nov      
Time: 17:45 – 18:45
A Deeper Understanding of Our Universe from Far Underground
Art McDonald, Gray Chair, Emeritus, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
By going deep underground and creating ultra-clean conditions it is possible to produce the lowest radioactivity laboratory in the world.There we can address very fundamental questions about our Universe: How does the Sun burn? What are the abundant dark matter particles in the spaces between the stars? What are the properties of neutrinos, elusive particles that are one of the fundamental building blocks of nature? How do these particles influence how our Universe evolves? Experiments addressing these questions are taking place at underground labs internationally and will be described.


Art McDonald, was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has degrees in physics from Dalhousie University (BSc, MSc) and Caltech (PhD) and fifteen honorary degrees. From 1969-1982 he was a Research Officer at AECL Chalk River Laboratories; 1982-1989, Professor at Princeton University; 1989-2013 Professor at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; 2006-2013 Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics, 2013-present Gray Chair Emeritus. Since 1989 he has been Director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Scientific Collaboration. Among many awards, he is a Companion of the Order of Canada, Co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics and 2007 Benjamin Franklin Medal; the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the 2013 Cocconi Prize of the European Physical Society with the SNO Collaboration. He is a member of the Royal Societies of Canada and the UK, Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Science and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He continues to be active in basic research in Neutrinos and Dark Matter. In 2020-21 he was the Canadian lead on a project that has delivered more than 7000 low-cost ventilators for the Covid-19 pandemic.

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