Historically, the University of British Columbia’s involvement in particle astroparticle physics goes back to the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. Chris Waltham started the SNO effort at UBC in the mid-1990s, and the university has been involved ever since. The group working at UBC played a key role in designing SNO’s light sensors, and sent a postdoc and grad student to assist in the assembly of SNO’s giant acrylic vessel, which had to be shipped underground in pieces. From 2003 on, the UBC group led SNO’s data analysis, and was instrumental in determining the flavour content of the detected neutrinos.
Now, the university boasts one of the most diverse physics and astronomy departments in the country.
UBC is also the home to TRIUMF, Canada’s national particle accelerator (and a McDonald Institute Partner in its own right).
Currently, there are several UBC faculty working on McDonald Institute experiments. UBC researcher Dr. Reiner Kruecken is a member of the nEXO collaboration, which is developing a new neutrino experiment. Additionally, Dr. Kruecken is part of a group working to develop a ‘Facility for Development of Noble Liquid Detectors and Optical Readout for Subatomic Physics and Particle Astrophysics’. This facility will be housed on UBC’s campus and will provide support for experiments like DEAP-3600, which use noble gases as their detection medium. Dr. Scott Osser’s work at UBC is supported by the McDonald Institute – he is a member of the SuperCDMS collaboration, and his group is leading development of the data collection system. They will also be involved in analyzing the data once the experiment is installed at SNOLAB.