Issue 01, October 16 2018
What's happening at the McDonald Institute
Welcome to our newsletter; a short collection of featured news, events and updates from the McDonald Institute and the Canadian Astroparticle and Astrophysics Community.
Joseph Bramante, Amit Bhoonah, and Sarah Schon discussing their work at Queen's University.
Gas Cloud Temperature Constrains Dark Matter
One of the aims of the McDonald Institute is to understand the nature of dark matter. There are  several theories  of what dark matter is. Some of these models allow for dark matter particles to have an electric charge, which would mean that dark matter would interact with gas in such a way as to bring the two into thermal equilibrium.
Dr. Joeseph Bramante and his team at the McDonald Institute & Queen's University are furthering the research into dark matter charge using cold gas clouds. Today, dark matter is relatively hot, and so if charged it would heat up its neighbouring gas. Highly charged dark matter could even heat gas faster than the gas would cool. By looking at cold (temperatures of 20 - 100 K) gas clouds in the Milky Way, the team have determined an upper limit on the charge of dark matter. Bramante found that for dark matter particles of mass 100 Mev/c^2, they must have a charge smaller than 1 / 100,000 of the charge of an electron. Bramante's group and others will be able to further constrain the charge of dark matter by exploring other cold clouds and including cosmic heating sources. Read more.

Dr. Donna Strickland is awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prizes in Physics for 2018 were announced on October 2nd. Dr. Donna Strickland, associate professor at the University of Waterloo, was a co-recipient of the award for her work with her Ph.D. supervisor Dr. Gérard Mourou (also a recipient of the award) on chirped pulse amplification of lasers. Their work pioneered the creation of short energetic laser pulses that are now used in laser micromachining, laser surgery, medicine and fundamental science studies. Dr. Strickland is the third woman to ever win the Noble Physics Prize, and also the first female Canadian to win the prize. Interestingly, she receives the award for the work in her very first publication, perhaps at odds with the notion that breakthrough science only occurs late in a scientist's career. Also receiving the 2018 Nobel Physics prize is Dr. Arthur Ashkin for his work using these precise laser pulses to create optical tweezers for manipulating small atoms and objects.

Canada's Young Scientists
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 spent the summer at SNOLAB in Sudbury working with McDonald Institute faculty member Ken Clark on the PICO Collaboration, a dark matter detection experiment using bubble chambers filled with superheated fluid to detect dark matter particles. 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. Read more

Upcoming Events
Dark Matter Day 2018
On November 10th we will be hosting public talks and giving tours of the Queen's Observatory. There will be live physics demos, raffle prizes, games and treats of course! The event is free, but registration is required due to limited capacity, so be sure to get your tickets soon!

The McDonald Institute is also hosting a public Dark Matter Day workshop all about dark matter and astroparticle physics on November 9th. More info.

Also check out the great calendar of events being put on by SNOLAB including teacher workshops, a paint night social, the SNOLAB Photowalk, and a live webcast! Get the full calendar here!

McDonald Institute Seminars
Researchers from around the globe are invited to Queen's twice a month to give an academic seminar on the area of their study. This is a fantastic way to connect with the international community and learn about the science being done at various institutions.

The McDonald Institute and Queens's Research present a new public event series: IGnite: Inspiring Generations through Research.

On November 15th, Our own Ken Clark along with medical historian Dr. Jacalyn Duffin will give talks along with a handful of keen students who have yet to be announced. The evening talks begin at 7 and are followed by a reception featuring poster presentations and demos. We encourage you to
connect with the young people at the event and with others doing inspiring research at Queen's.

Write for the McDonald Institute!
We want to hear about your news, events and ideas and help bring them to light. We will be featuring guest writers and editors in our newsletters so let us know if you are interested in contributing or being involved in our communication and outreach initiatives.