Carleton University has been part of astrophysics in Canada from the beginning. Faculty members at Carleton were instrumental in the development of SNO, the first experiment in the underground space that would become SNOLAB: David Sinclair, now a Distinguished Research Professor used his 1984-85 sabbatical to conduct the feasibility study needed before the construction of SNO could begin.
Since then, Carleton’s physics department has continued to be a leader on the national and international astroparticle physics scenes. Currently, researchers there are taking the lead on several current and next-generation dark matter experiments housed at SNOLAB, including Mark Boulay who is the project director for DEAP-3600, a dark matter experiment.
The department also has a theoretical particle physics group, whose members have all worked on dark matter at some point. One of the focuses of this group is to find connections between different experiments being carried out by collaborations of experimental researchers.
Carleton physicists are also collaborating with other departments at the university to address the challenges posed by cutting-edge particle physics research, working with the department of electronics and the MicroFabrication Facility to create sensors for ATLAS-ITk, an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. It is exactly this kind of interdisciplinary innovation to tackle the big questions in astroparticle physics that the McDonald Institute inspires by bringing together faculty of diverse backgrounds.
With the CFREF funding made available by the McDonald Institute, Carleton has been able to hire Simon Viel, an assistant professor in experimental particle physics, who will be building his own research group and is actively recruiting students and postdocs.
It is students like these who have been described as essential members of the teams working on SNO and current experiments; several past Carleton students have gone on to hold leadership roles within experimental collaborations or teach future generations of students. With such a robust history of involvement with astroparticle physics in Canada, Carleton is an important institutional partner of the McDonald Institute, and this partnership will help to strengthen Canada’s growing network.