Issue 26, November 22nd, 2021

We hope you are well having a safe and productive fall semester. In this edition of the newsletter, we're happy to bring a brand new opportunity to the community and are very excited about the Ewan Lecture, featuring Director of CITA, Juna Kollemeir!
Be sure to visit the McDonald Institute Community Discord. The group is open to anyone involved in the Canadian astroparticle physics community and provides a space to ask questions and have discussions about the various aspects of studying, working, and researching in the field. Access the discord here:

The Ewan Lecture, featuring Juna Kollmeier
The McDonald Institute is excited to announce that the 2021 George and Maureen Ewan Lecturer is Dr. Juna Kollmeier, director of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics in Toronto. Dr. Kollmeier will be giving the free public lecture on “Mapping the Universe”. The lecture will be in person at (tentatively) Stirling Hall Auditorium (64 Bader Lane, K7L 3N5) on Monday, November 29th, at 7:30 pm EST. We will also be live-streaming the event on YouTube to broaden access to the event. 
The George and Maureen Ewan Lecture series was endowed by Queen’s Physics Professor George Ewan and his wife Maureen in 2018 to support seminar and lecture programs designed to increase scientific discourse and culture within the Particle Astrophysics community at Queen’s University and the broader Kingston community.

Launch of the National APP Recruitment Tool 

As of mid-October, the McDonald Institute has launched an online recruitment tool to reinforce highly qualified personnel’s interest in astroparticle physics and related research groups in Canada. We believe this tool will appeal to a diversity of high-calibre candidates to apply for all levels of research and staff positions in our field, including undergraduate and graduate research positions.  
The recruitment tool is still being built, and we welcome feedback from our network on how to better represent the people, research, and opportunities in Canadian astroparticle physics. Please share the recruitment tool if you find any aspect pertinent for your network. Contact CJ at if you have any questions or concerns. 

Career Scientists Advise McDonald Institute on Next-Decade Priorities

More than half of Canada’s faculty and staff-scientist astroparticle physicists met on Nov. 12 to advise the McDonald Institute on its strategies for supporting research over the next 10 years. The townhall meeting was organized by the Institute’s Associate Scientific Director, Ken Clark, who had earlier tasked more than 90 researchers to indicate the scope of astroparticle physics research the Canadian community should focus on over the next 10 years, how the McDonald Institute's future operations should support that work, and how universities, colleges and other facilities might contribute. 

After last summer’s successful mid-term review of the $63.7-million Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) grant, the McDonald Institute is designing new programs to amplify the longer-term scientific, economic and social impact of CFREF’s investments in faculty and postgraduate recruiting. The community’s emerging needs are shaping the way these programs are tailored and how the Institute pursues funding to support them.  

New activities not supported by the current CFREF grant could be eligible for funding under new competition recently announced by CFREF. While details of a new competition have not been released, CFREF has publicly announced a third round of the grant. CFREF’s first and second funding competitions were launched in 2015 to help Canadian post-secondary institutions turn-key research strengths into world-leading capabilities. 
“The input gathered from a community-wide survey on 10-year priorities and the follow-up townhall on Friday were extremely valuable in helping us better define the 10-year problem spaces, constraints, and opportunities for our career scientists,” said Interim Managing Director Ed Thomas. “We were deeply impressed with everyone’s engagement. We will use this information to optimize the Institute’s programs and refine our proposals for new kinds of activities beyond 2024.” 

Over the next several weeks, the Institute will launch separate dialogues with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Canadian astroparticle physics community, as well as external partners in industry, public education, government and the non-profit sector. 

Neutrino as the Dark Force 
Postdoctoral Fellow Nicholas Orlofsky and Prof. Yue Zhang propose that self-interacting dark matter can occur via the exchange of Standard Model neutrinos, instead of light dark matter force carriers. This solution enables an allowed parameter space where dark matter can influence small-scale structure in the universe and provides a unified solution to long-standing problems in small-scale structure formation. The corresponding interactions are testable and provide targets for precision measurements at upcoming collider experiments. 

See our science news article on neutrinos as the dark force for an overview and resources. 

Fig 1 from the published paper. Two-neutrino exchange diagram that can generate a long-range potential between DM particles.
TeV Particle Astrophysics (TeVPA 2022) will take place at Queen's University, August 8-12 2022. TeVPA is a major international conference bringing together expertise around the terascale including cosmic rays, cosmology, dark matter, galactic and extragalactic sources, gamma rays, neutrinos and multimessenger physics. The scientific programme will be announced soon, and call for abstracts and registration will open in early 2022. 

Queen’s grad student, Hannah Ramsey wins the YPWLC!

Earlier this year, the McDonald Institute and the Center for Excellence in Mining Innovation, in partnership with IOM3, hosted the Canadian Young Persons’ Lecture Competition (YPLC). Competitors from across Canada presented a 15-minute lecture on materials, minerals, mining, packaging, clay technology and wood science and engineering. Queen’s University MD/Ph.D. Candidate Hannah Ramsay was awarded first place for her talk on Silver Clusters: Small Material, Big Potential and earned the opportunity to represent Canada in the Young Persons' World Lecture Competition
On November 11th, Hannah competed virtually at the Young Persons' World Lecture Competition (an extension of the national YPLC). Finalists from across the globe passionately shared their research ranging from antibacterial coatings and packaging to organic semiconductors and metal-organic frameworks. The competition was fierce, but thankfully for Canada, Hannah delivered a captivating presentation and showcased her expertise during the judges' questions. An incredible research journey and flawless performance landed Hannah first prize at this year's YPWLC.
Read the Q&A with YPWLC Winner Hannah Ramsay here:
Read the IOM3 release here:

McDonald Institute’s New Program Officer  
The McDonald Institute welcomed its new Program Officer, Chineze Onuoha, on Nov. 15. She will be responsible for administering funding competitions and funding ticket management across Institute support programs. She will also administer the Institute’s performance measurement reporting obligations to the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.  
Chineze is a versatile management professional with years of experience managing complex administrative duties and medium-to-large-scale projects. She joined the Institute from the University Relations department of Queen's University, where she was responsible for managing administrative and financial activities and coordinating projects such as Queen's submission to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. Before joining Queen’s University, she worked in British Council, where her responsibilities included managing the delivery of several large-scale projects and grant schemes across Sub-Saharan Africa. She loves spending quality time with family and friends; playing board games and solving complex crossword puzzles.  
The Program Officer role at the McDonald Institute is a key point of contact for many of our major offerings, including HQP Pooled Funding, Frontier Venture Research Funding, Cross-Disciplinary Internships and a range of exchange and collaboration support programming. As always, our primary contact email for funding queries remains and specific questions for the Program Officer can be directed to  

Drift: Art and Dark Matter shortlisted for Exhibition of the Year  

The Drift: Art and Dark Matter exhibition, which was hosted by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre this past Winter, has been nominated by the Galleries Ontario / Ontario Galleries (GOG) for the 44th Annual, 2021 GOG Awards. Drift: Art and Dark Matter is shortlisted for the Exhibition of the Year Awar (Budget over $50,000). The iconic GOG Awards celebrate the outstanding achievement, artistic merit, and excellence of arts institutions and professionals in the public art gallery sector.
Josèfa Ntjam, Luciferin Drop, 2020, glass, metal, plastic and Myceaqua Vitae, 2020, video with sound. Collection of the artist. Installation view from Drift: Art and Dark Matter. Photo: Tim Forbes 

The exhibition is currently on display at the Belkin Art Gallery on the UBC campus in Vancouver until December 5th and the virtual exhibition remains available on the Agnes website here: 
Call for applications – Experience Venture’s Coordinator 

The McDonald Institute Experience Ventures Coordinator (the Coordinator) will work with staff and students to support a unique event aimed at preparing undergraduate students for future challenges. Based at Queen’s University, the McDonald Institute aims to elevate Canada’s international position in astroparticle physics through recruitment, training, and community outreach. The Institute has partnered with the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s to deliver the Experience Ventures program. This program will be a hackathon-like experience involving 35 undergraduate students in February and March 2022. 

This position is short-term casual (up to 16 weeks, ending no later than the end of March 2022) with an hourly rate of $30/hour and will require the Coordinator to work remotely and occasional evenings and weekends, according to the program’s needs. Qualified candidates must have an undergraduate degree or college diploma in a communication-practices driven discipline (e.g., communications, journalism, marketing, business administration, event management, etc.) and a minimum of two years’ experience in the organization and delivery of events, projects or other initiatives involving groups of more than 40 people. 

Please share this opportunity with your networks! To apply, a cover letter and resume should be sent to with the subject line “EV Coordinator Position” as soon as possible. 

More about this position can be found on the Recruitment Tool post, including the official position summary

Join the next Professional Development Opportunities! 

Virtual Content Delivery 101: Open Broadcast Software (OBS) 
Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 2:30 pm-4:00 pm EST 

Over the past year, we’ve all had to adapt to delivering virtual content. While it may seem easy watching professional streamers play Fortnite for 10 hours straight, we’ve all had to stare at someone’s forehead during a presentation as well. Whether it’s a lecture, a conference, or a panel discussion, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into making an online event enjoyable and engaging.

Join McDonald Institute Communications Officer, Zac Kenny, as he shares the ins and outs of producing live digital content. Attendees are encouraged to download the free OBS and follow along in streaming this very session live to YouTube! 

Version Control (pt. 2 of 3) 
Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at 2:30 pm-4:00 pm EST 

Science is always about reproducibility and is continually becoming more collaboration-focused. But how can we effectively store past and present versions of files, manuscripts, software, plotting scripts etc. while also allowing multiple members of a collaboration to simultaneously work together on these files? The answer is: version control
Version control is now required by all aspects of scientific research, manuscript writing, and software development, and so if you are not familiar with it, or are a bit rusty, then this Professional Development Opportunities session is for you!

Over three sessions, Dr. Mark Richardson will use the Software Carpentry workshop on Version Control, along with his experiences, to give an in-depth overview of using version control (specifically the software git) in your own professional work. 
Version Control pt. 2 focus: Deepen your understanding of collaboration using git and how to overcome conflicts. 

Self-Guided Professional Development and Learning EDII Series
A reminder that the self-guided modules for enhancing your equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization (EDII) competencies are now available. These opportunities are open to students, staff, and faculty affiliated with the McDonald Institute. We thank our partners at the Human Rights and Equity Office (Queen’s University) for providing this training to the network!
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. Please share this poster with students at your institution.  

Visit for more information

Cross-Disciplinary Internship (CDI) 2022 Application Open! 

The Cross-Disciplinary Internship (CDI) program provides a ($12,000 CAN) salary reimbursement for full- or part-time students registered in non-physics majors to participate in astroparticle physics research. Student applicants can be enrolled in any post-secondary level. This program links students with leading astroparticle physics researchers in Canada for opportunities to expand research collaborations, knowledge, and research-based skills. This year, we are also broadening the definition of “supervisor” to include opportunities for postdoctoral researchers to apply as supervisors to host a cross-disciplinary intern. 
There are two new facets of the program this year we would like to highlight. First, postdoctoral scholars can apply as supervisors to host a CDI student. This is a named opportunity for postdocs to develop and demonstrate supervisory skills that are evaluated in other grants (I.e., Discovery Grants for NSERC). Second, in addition to undergraduate and graduate students, CDI student applicants can come from the college-level (again, non-physics diploma programs) to add value and skills typically not seen in astroparticle physics research. We hope these new features of the program will inspire new types of research and collaborations! 
Potential applicants and their supervisors must contact Dr. Alexandra Pedersen, the McDonald Institute’s Business Development Officer, at prior to submitting an application to discuss the project. Please use “CDI Program – [LAST NAME]” as the subject line when reaching out. 

McDonald Institute Seminar Series

November 30 2021

Thank you for your support. If you would like to view past newsletters from the McDonald Institute, please visit the: Newsletter Archive.

Do you have a recent result or publication that you would like shared with the Canadian Astroparticle Physics network and beyond? Send your work to CJ ( to have it featured in our Science News series!
Science News is intended for students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and research associates actively working in astroparticle physics to quickly digest updates and progress in areas that are not directly connected to their specific project(s).

The McDonald Institute at Queen’s University is situated in the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee First Nations. The Institute is part of a national network of institutions and research centres, which operate in other traditional Indigenous territories. Visit to learn the traditional territories where astroparticle physicists are grateful to live and work across Canada.

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