AstroParticle Bites

We would like to announce that our new Astroparticle Bites is finally starting later this week. Currently we will have a recent astroparticle physics paper discussed weekly at a level appropriate for physics undergrads. These will be given by a group of current or recent graduate students. Please bookmark this page to look for more information and our regular posts. You can also email Mark Richardson, our Education and Outreach Officer at if you are interested in becoming a contributor or would like to sign up for the weekly Astroparticle Bites post.


Introducing our Contributors

Gevy Cao: I am a Master’s student at Queen’s University working on the PICO experiment utilizing bubble chambers for direct dark matter detection. I have worked on a range of tasks from radiation simulations to particle identification using machine learning. You can often find me in contemporary dance studios or martial arts training mats. One of my wildest dreams is to summit Mount Everest.

Abhinav Jindal: I recently graduated with an MSc. in Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of Toronto. My research has spanned a wide range of topics from exoplanet atmospheres to globular cluster dynamics. Currently, I am studying life sciences as a non-degree student at University of Toronto, hoping to pursue an MD in the near future. I enjoy engaging with the public at various outreach events. In my spare time, I like to play guitar and daydream about the universe.

Islam Khan: I am a PhD candidate in Physics at Washington State University and my research interest is in the field of particle cosmology. I am currently working on developing a novel quintessential inflation model, in which the energy density of the “inflaton” field that drove inflation found a way to survive until recent times to behave as dark energy. Outside of cosmology, my hobbies include traveling, playing fingerstyle guitar, and playing soccer.

Benjamin Tam: I am a PhD Candidate in Particle Astrophysics at Queen’s University working on the SNO+ Experiment. My research at an intersection of physics, chemistry, and engineering in an effort to upgrade the Nobel prize winning Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in an effort to search for neutrinoless double beta decay. I am also passionate about science outreach and education. I am typically otherwise found mountaineering, speed skating, or making awful puns.

Max Walent: I’m a first year masters student at Laurentian University, currently working on reducing the Rn backgrounds from the nEXO plumbing system.

Shawn Westdale: I am a postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University in Ottawa, working on the DEAP-3600 direct dark matter detection experiment. I completed my PhD at Princeton, working on the DarkSide-50 experiment. And before that, I worked on the MiniCLEAN experiment for my bachelors at MIT. As a hipster physicist, I was into dark matter detectors when they were still underground.