News & Events

Science Café / How Physicists and Artists Search for Dark Matter

Event Details

Location: virtual

Date: February 10, 2022

Time: 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Many people wearing personal protective equipment (jumpsuits and hard hats) work inside a research facility. The view is distorted, as if seen through a thick glass lens

Artists and scientists talk about their fascinating quest for invisible and elusive "dark" matter.

The Carleton University Art Gallery and the Faculty of Science at Carleton University invite you to a free public conversation to learn about how two disciplines – science and art – approach the fascinating search for dark matter.

We’ll convene on Zoom; please register here:

The search takes place at SNOLAB, a world-class science facility two kilometres under the Sudbury Basin. In 2020, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University invited four artists to participate in a residency at SNOLAB. They each created new artworks, which are displayed in Drift: Art and Dark Matter.

For this Science Café, Carleton University experimental physicist Simon Viel and one of the invited artists, Jol Thoms, will speak about their work and research at SNOLAB. The conversation will be moderated by Gurpreet Kaur, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics at Carleton University.



Gurpreet Kaur is a Ph.D. candidate in astroparticle physics at Carleton University, working with the DEAP-3600 (housed in SNOLAB) since 2017. Dr. Kaur’s research is mainly focused on preparing the strategies and analyzing the physics data for the time series analysis and is working with other group members to expand the physics reach of the detector from sensitivity and feasibility studies. The data analysis also includes many other interesting studies like examination of the stability of detector, extraction of the lifetime of argon isotope (39Ar) with world-leading precision, and quality assessment of physics data. Dr. Kaur graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in science from Panjab University, India in 2014, and received a Masters’s degree in solid-state physics from Punjab Agricultural University, India in 2016.

Jol Thoms is an artist and researcher based in London, UK. His audiovisual compositions, lecture-performances, and educational experimentations emerge from site-based fieldwork in remote ‘landscape-laboratories’ situated at the forefront of experimental physics and environmental stewardship where planetary bodies become vast posthuman sensing arrays. His critical practice addresses our troubled relationships with nature, technology and the cosmos by signalling beyond the purely measurable and quantifiable, and by thinking, feeling and sensing with more-than-human worlds.

Dr. Simon Viel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at Carleton University, within the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute. As a member the Astroparticle Physics Experiments (APEX) group, he works on large-scale low-background experiments at SNOLAB, and silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) research and development. He received his PhD at UBC and was a Chamberlain Fellow and NSERC PDF, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2014–17).