Issue 09, December 12 2019

We know it's been a busy month for everyone. We've launched three different funding competitions this month, so read through the items in this newsletter to be sure you haven't missed anything.

As always, please feel free to get in touch with us about your research news, publications, and outreach events. We would love to include these items in our newsletter, on our website or in our social media channels. Please contact if you have something to share.

We appreciate your support, your participation, and your help in sharing our news and programs as you see fit.

Astroparticle Community Planning Exercise
The Astroparticle Community Planning exercise (ACP) aims to capture the priorities of Canadian astroparticle physics researchers. A board of 8 co-working field chairs has been selected to ask the broader physics community to explore four key areas of interest and are expected to convene soon.

Neutrino Properties
Ken Clark -
Alex Wright -

Neutrino Messengers
Erica Caden -
Carsten Krauss -

Dark Matter
Simon Viel -
David Morrissey -

Silvia Scorza -
Fabrice Retiere -
"Researchers with a core interest in astroparticle physics absolutely need to take part in this exercise as it will shape the scale and timing of opportunities in high impact research." says Tony Noble, We encourage collaboration on the preparation of written submissions focused on particular scientific strategies."

To participate, the astroparticle physics community is invited to submit written inputs by   January 17, 2020 . Submissions must fit within one of the four key areas. Submissions should be limited to 10 pages max (including the one-page Canadian vision) and generally include information such as Intro/background, community composition, current results/knowledge/forecasts, theoretical foundation, discussion, conclusions, and references. At the end of the document, please append a (one-page max) response to the following question: In which scientific area do you think Canada can be world-leading within the time frame of 20 years? The motivation for this last question is to inform the discussion on how best to advance the field over the next 20 years, as new generations of experiments will be envisioned, and new theoretical ideas will be pursued. This discussion will be a significant part of the town hall meeting agenda. All submissions should be uploaded to the website  (username:  ACP  password:  astroparticle ) by the deadline date. These are not intended to be publicly available, although a list of briefs received, and their authors, will be available on the website to encourage new briefs and collaboration. The website is at a rudimentary stage of development just now, but will grow as more details of the town hall meetings emerge, and as drafts of the compiled reports become available. Following the submissions, participants will be invited to town hall meetings where the development of the compiled report for each area will be discussed. These reports will be compiled into a single report and shared with the community for comment before finalizing. If you have any questions on this process, please contact the appropriate Chairs for the different areas identified above. Thank you for your participation in this project.

The expected outcomes of the process include extensive "green papers" summarizing the input from individual interest groups covering the broadest possible range of opportunities/strengths/challenges for the community over their next 10 years. A "white paper" will be developed by a separate ACP steering committee to identify specific opportunities with favourable prospects to advance astroparticle science. The exercise will also be used to identify the positioning of Canadian future contributions to global astroparticle physics research.

The ACP is a community effort rather than a project of any specific research organization. The McDonald Institute and its other partners (SNOLAB, IPP, CINO, TRIUMF) will support the community's work of defining future research opportunities and priorities.

NEWS-G Makes the voyage to SNOLAB!

Ten teams from five countries contributed the expertise to build the three main components of the dark matter detection device NEWS-G (New Experiments with Spheres – Gas). The components began their international journey earlier this fall and are arriving in Canada to be installed 2 km below the surface in SNOLAB at the Vale Canada Creighton mine near Sudbury.

Click here to read about the 2000 year old "Roman Lead", used in the detector's shielding (below), the fabrication of the inner sphere and the industrial plastic outer shielding.
Dr. Yue Zhang joins the McDonald Institute at Carleton

Dr. Zhang is the 15 th (and final) faculty member to be hired with financial support from the CFREF-funded Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute.

Zhang is a theoretical particle physicist interested in understanding the universe. His research is driven by puzzles involving the nature of dark matter, the origin of cosmic matter-anti-matter asymmetry and the physics behind neutrinos. Any breakthrough in these areas will improve our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature.
"My research field lies at the interface between theoretical particle physics and cosmology." explains Zhang, who is motivated by questions about "the nature of dark matter, the origin of the cosmic baryon asymmetry, and the physics behind neutrino mass and interactions."

Zhang obtained his PhD from Peking University in 2009. He held postdoctoral positions at Northwestern University, Fermilab, Caltech, and the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. Zhang joined Carleton as an assistant professor in theoretical physics in October.

Theorists like Dr. Zhang are especially important in modelling the possible phenomena and operating parameters in which we might try and detect new particles and in analyzing and understanding our observations after the fact. Dr. Zhang works " on both model building and phenomenology to seek for answers to these puzzles, as well as their potential interplay." Dr. Zhang joins a theory group at Carleton that is already significantly engaged with the Canadian astroparticle physics community and with the McDonald Institute.

Erica Caden selected as a 40 Under Forty recipient!
Dr. Caden is one of SNOLAB's research scientists working on the SNO+, HALO and nEXO experiments. She was selected as a 40 Under Forty recipient by the Northern Ontario Business ltd. for her achievements and contributions to the local community, and we are especially grateful for her contributions to the SNOLAB and McDonald Institute community.

Dr. Caden is an excellent scientist, a mentor to students, and committed to engaging in science outreach activities such as the inaugural G.I.R.L.S. camp where she provided training and support as Teaching Director.
“Being a physicist isn’t just about being smart, but about being curious, and not giving up when the problem in front of you looks insurmountable." says Caden, "Science is truly a creative endeavour. Research is about trying to answer questions that no one has answered before. Part of that is coming up with the tools, and developing better questions as we go along.”

See the SNOLAB feature here:, and the 40 Under Forty highlight here:

To learn more about Dr. Caden's work, check out her researcher page   here .  
The McDonald Institute admin team receives a Special Recognition for Staff Team award.
On December 3rd, the McDonald Institute administrative team was honoured to receive the Special Recognition for Staff Team Award from Principal Patrick Deane at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The award is given annually to “a group of individuals who share mutual responsibilities and demonstrate a cooperative team effort”.
Since the official launch of the McDonald Institute in May of 2018, the small but dedicated team has worked together to bring the Institute to life. From milestone events such as the Institute launch and the opening of the Visitor Centre, to the development of sustained outreach initiatives like IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations, and Astronomy on Tap, the group has worked collaboratively to make these, and much more, a reality.

The McDonald Institute team has developed a lively and engaged community of students and professionals in astroparticle physics and has helped create public interest in the field as well. Each member of our team contributes unique skills, talents and vision, supporting each other and making the office an exciting hub of ideas and strategies.

Art McDonald hosts the Queen's Observatory Tour!
Every second Saturday of the month, the Queen's Observatory opens its doors to visitors of all ages. These evenings begin with a short guest lecture, and last weekend it was Art McDonald himself! After the talk, visitors get a tour of the facility, up through the warm room and into the dome. On a clear night, guests can see planets, galaxies and clusters through the 14" telescope.
Members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada are often in attendance, bringing additional telescopes to set up on the Ellis Hall rooftop. The tour continues around the corner to Stirling Hall to see the astroparticle exhibits at the McDonald Institute Visitor Centre. Guests love seeing trails in the cloud chamber left by passing particles and digging gravitational wells in the gravity sandbox to try and trap orbiting asteroids.

Be sure to follow the Queen's Observatory on Facebook here and on YouTube here where previous guest lectures can be viewed.

Funding Opportunities:

May 10-16 2020

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.
For more information, please visit:
Applications are due January 31st, 2020:

July 12-17, Toronto, Canada
Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from institutions in Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States are invited to apply for the 11th International HPC Summer School, to be held July 12-17, 2020 in Toronto, Canada, hosted by the SciNet HPC Consortium. 
Applications are due January 27, 2020.

New AstroParticle Bites:
The latest Astroparticlebites article " Goldstone Boson Becomes Dark Energy … and later also Dark Matter?!" by Islam Kahn explores the Article: “Cosmology with Ultra-light Pseudo-Nambu-Goldstone Bosons” by Joshua A. Fireman, Christopher T. Hill, Albert Stebbins, and Ioav Waga

Read Kahn's article here:
Figure 3. Figure 1 from the paper showing the pNGB model parameter space.

Islam Khan is a PhD candidate in Physics at Washington State University currently working on developing a novel quintessential inflation model, in which the energy density of the “inflation” field that drove inflation found a way to survive until recent times to behave as dark energy.

Current Positions Available:

Assistant Professor – Dark Matter/Neutrino Physics
University of Toronto
Apply by January 15th, 2019

Tenure-Track Faculty Position in Experimental Particle Astrophysics
Queen’s University
Apply by December 15th, 2019

Ph.D. position in Experimental Particle Physics/Instrumentation
Queen’s University
Open until filled

Undergraduate Summer Work Employment Positions
Queen's University
Open until February 8th 2020

For the full listing of positions available through the McDonald Institute, please see: