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Brendon Matusch wins 1st place at EUCYS

It was a great week for Canadian science as two of our youngest minds, Brendon Matusch and Nicolas Fedrigo bring home two of the three first place prizes from this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).

Brendon’s interests lie in artificial intelligence and machine learning which he implemented in his award winning self-driving go-kart project. Brendon spent the summer at SNOLAB in Sudbury working with McDonald Institute faculty member Ken Clark on the PICO Collaboration. PICO is a dark matter detection experiment using bubble chambers filled with superheated fluid to detect dark matter particles. The challenge with any astroparticle detection experiment is filtering out local background signals. Bubble chambers detect particles when a bubble forms within the chamber. Brendon was able to develop a machine learning algorithm that uses the information about individual bubbles to determine the types of particles that caused them. His program was able to produce results that could be more accurate than the methods that were previously used. The introduction of machine learning to astroparticle detection is new to physics research and has a great potential for processing large amounts of data with improved accuracy.

Brendon Matusch stands on a stage holding up an award, posing with three other people. The wall behind them reads EUCYS 2018 Dublin Award Ceremony, 30th European Union Contest for Young Scientists

Brendon looks to keep exploring the possibilities of machine learning and programming through his remaining two years of high school and into his promising post-secondary education. We will be watching Brendon’s career closely and hope that he will return his insightful efforts to astroparticle physics.

Brendon’s work with SNOLAB and the PICO Collaboration show just how much young scientists with new and unique perspectives have to offer. We hope that his achievements inspire other young people across Canada to see themselves as a valuable part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields.

“EUCYS was an incredible experience. I got to meet so many brilliant young scientists from around the world, and enjoyed the experience of presenting my project to judges and the public. I’d really like to thank everyone from Sudbury who supported and encouraged me along the way, and also Youth Science Canada for all of their guidance and support.”
-Brendon Matusch