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Art McDonald: A Deeper Understanding of the Universe From 2km Underground

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Discovery Centre

1215 Lower Water Street

Halifax, NS B3J 1Z7

Canada

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2015 Nobel Prize-winner Art McDonald (Professor Emeritus at Queen's University and Perimeter Institute Board member) explains how researchers created an ultra-clean underground lab to obtain otherwise-impossible measurements to study fundamental physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) was a 1,000-tonne heavy-water-based neutrino detector created 2 km underground in a mine near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

SNO has used neutrinos from 8B decay in the Sun to observe one neutrino reaction sensitive only to solar electron neutrinos and others sensitive to all active neutrino flavours. It found clear evidence for neutrino flavour change enroute from the core of the sun to the earth. When combined with other measurements it also requires that neutrinos have non-zero mass. This evidence requires modification of the Standard Model for elementary particles, and confirms solar model calculations with great accuracy. The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics were awarded for these measurements.

Future measurements at the expanded SNOLAB facility will search for dark matter particles thought to make up 26% of our universe, and rare forms of radioactivity that can tell us further fundamental properties of neutrinos potentially related to the origin of our matter-dominated universe.


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1215 Lower Water Street

Halifax, NS B3J 1Z7

Canada

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