CAPSS 2020

Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School

May 10-16, 2020


Note, CAPSS has been cancelled for 2020.

COVID-19 has led to many institutes stopping visitors, public schools shutting down, universities cancelling classes and events with large groups, and banning all international travel for their staff and guests. The Canadian government has now closed international travel, and some provinces have enacted a state of emergency.

Given this, it is with great sadness that we will be cancelling CAPSS in May. While it is too early to know what our plans are for CAPSS2021, we will reach out to the community as soon as we know. This site will also be updated at that time.

In the meantime, the McDonald Institute will soon begin exploring ways to bring our content and programs to an online platform. Please join our newsletter to get updates about our programming: https://mcdonaldinstitute.ca/newsletter-archive/.

Thank you again for your interest in CAPSS, and we hope we can engage you in our other programs in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, please take care of yourself!

The Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School (CAPSS) is an intensive week-long undergraduate school that will introduce students to the current topics in the field of astroparticle physics at Queen’s University and SNOLAB.

CAPSS 2020 has been cancelled.

To find out how to apply, click here.

Activities will include:

  • Lectures and hands-on activities in particle physics, detector development, neutrino physics, dark matter astrophysics theory and cosmology, and more!
  • Tours and use of experiment labs at Queen’s
  • An enriched Masterclass on the Nobel Prize winning SNO experiment
  • A tour of the world-famous SNOLAB underground facility
  • A banquet and other social events

Topics Covered:

  • Astrophysical evidence for dark Matter: rotation curves of galaxies and the “missing mass” problem
  • Dark matter astrophysics theory and cosmology: Big Bang nucleosynthesis, the Cosmic Microwave Background, formation of structure
  • Models and signals of dark matter: observed correlations in the CMB, the dark matter complementarity diagram, dark matter candidates
  • Direction detection of dark mark matter: basics (nuclear recoild, backgrounds, etc.), applications (noble liquid/gas detectors, solid state detectors, oddball detectors), current status of research in field
  • Neutrino oscillations and the SNO experiment, neutrino mass theory and experiment, and neutrinoless double-beta decay


A detailed schedule for CAPSS 2020 will be available closer to the school. For last year’s schedule, please see here: SCHEDULE.


Instructors will be confirmed for 2020 soon.

List of 2019 instructors:
Prof. Joseph Bramante (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Erica Caden (SNOLAB/Laurentian)
Prof. Ken Clark (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Guillaume Giroux (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Ian Lawson (SNOLAB/Laurentian)
Prof. Ryan Martin (Queen’s)
Prof. Tony Noble (Queen’s/MI)
Dr. Tom Sonley (SNOLAB)
Prof. Kristine Spekkens (Royal Military College)
Prof. Aaron Vincent (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Lawrence Widrow (Queen’s)

Target Audience

This school is targeted towards strong 2nd year and 3rd year undergraduate students. We also welcome students in their 4th or more senior years of undergrad  who will preferably not have graduated by the time they attend CAPSS 2020. Both Canadian and international students are welcomed to apply.

Registration Fee & Funding

There is no registration fee, but successful applicants will need to pay a pre-registration fee of $100, reimbursable upon completion of the school.
We will provide accommodations, meals (breakfast and lunch only), one banquet dinner, and transportation from Queen’s University to SNOLAB and back.
At this time, we will not be providing travel funding to our successful applicants, but encourage them to explore sources of funding for travel from their home institutions.

More Information

More questions? Check out our online FAQ to see if it has been answered already. If you’d like to contact us directly, you can do so at summerschool@mcdonaldinstitute.ca

Students at the CAPSS 2018 Closing Reception at Science North


CAPSS 2018 7