Issue 13, July 7th, 2020

It was a busy June, and we have a full suite of news, updates and resources from the last month, so let's get into it!

As always, we want to encourage you to help us expand the astroparticle physics community by sharing this newsletter , and our other channels with your friends, family and colleagues. Please follow us on LinkedIn , and reach out with your science news, programming or opportunities to share: .

#BlackLivesMatter, Anti-racism, Equity Diversity & Inclusion
In June, many in the Canadian particle physics community confronted the destructive consequences of systemic anti-Black racism. We were called to action by the global Black Lives Matter movement, generally, and by strike4blacklives and shutdownSTEM, specifically. The McDonald Institute recognizes and acknowledges that very few Black scientists are included in our community. We are committed to actively working with our partners to address this failure. W e did not issue a public statement in June. We did work with the community of Canadian astroparticle physicists to fight racism. Risking appearances to privilege actions puts the onus on us to do things that make differences. When we speak to solidarity and support with Black scientists, we want to speak to our actions as well as our intentions.
The McDonald Institute was founded in 2016 through a $63.7M CFREF grant to bolster the Canadian Astroparticle Physics Community and elevate Canada on the world stage as a leader in this field. Our goal is for Canada to be the place that everyone thinks of and includes in their astroparticle physics career. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) success is critical to sustainable scientific excellence. While the Institute has taken many actions with respect to our EDI mandate, we are alarmed by the scarcity of Black career physicists doing research in Canada. This may seem unimportant next to anti-Black police violence. But the longstanding public indifference to these harms and the shock of last month's resistance reminds us that the worst atrocity emerges from a steady erosion of justice and the normalization of inequality in all spheres of life. We all own a piece of this problem.  
So are we doing anything about racism in science? 

We are. But we're also re-thinking our approach because we are unsatisfied with our progress. We took some time to listen to what Black and Indigenous scholars have been saying for many years now -- and to seriously think about our approach to anti-Black racism specifically, and inequality in general. We haven’t worked everything out yet, but we are committed to the following: 
  • We are focusing our equity work on reforming policies, procedures and modes-of-action that create or perpetuate inequality. Passively waiting for Black researchers to fight through systemic barriers between themselves and our community is only prolonging injustice. 
  • We are not treating racism as a simple White/non-White binary. If we are excluding any racial identity from our ranks, we need to ask ourselves why this is so, and what we are doing about it. 
  • We need to move beyond racially equitable ideals and toward doing things that foster racially equitable outcomes. We can scrutinize (and change) the way we build partnerships, identify potential, mentor scientists, build professional trust and recognize excellence. These changes should remove unnecessary barriers, foster inclusive recruitment and build a more sustainable research enterprise for everyone. 
  • We are working with one specific anti-racist framework. We think this approach offers the most straightforward means through which physicists can build real equity for themselves, their colleagues and the external communities that support us all.  

The McDonald Institute anti-racist framework has been adapted from the model developed by Boston University's Prof. Ibram X. Kendi. McDonald Institute Associate Director, Ed Thomas has mapped its major themes in the context of physics research, and has presented it twice in the last several weeks:
Ed Thomas's presentation shows a comment-thread word cloud generated from responses to a 2014 Smithsonian Magazine article on the under-representation of Black and Hispanic physicists among American college faculty.

The above is only one resource using one framework for anti-racism. It is important to engage your own thinking and determine how you will respond. Following are some additional resources for those who aren't sure where to start:

There are also a few online courses available:


Started by Astrobites on June 3, the #BlackinAstro hashtag on Twitter seeks to highlight the work of Black astronomers and astrophysicists, encouraging them to tell their stories and share how racism has affected their journey. 

"We carry this burden of doing everything that everyone else has to do, but doing it in rooms where we don’t see ourselves represented," 
Black students find themselves more often underestimated by their colleagues while experiencing overt racism and a plethora of microaggressions. One step we can take towards allyship is acknowledging the existence of the issues that Black students face every day. 
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein has curated a great list of #BlackinAstro Twitter accounts here.

She has also just announced that her new book: "The Disordered Cosmos", will be available for pre-order soon.

Jasmine Singh has put together a historical list of Black Astronomers and Astrophysicists whose under-recognized contributions have paved the way for science here.

We'd also like to highlight a few of the Black researchers in astroparticle physics such as:

Dr. Richard Anatua : High Energy Theoretical Particle Physics

Dr. Jessica Equivel (left): particle astrophysics, data analysis, and science communication

David Zegeye : Testing Axions Theoretical Particles: Dark Matter Candidates

Dr. Jedidah Isler : Supermassive Black Holes / Particle Acceleration
Indigenous History Month
In recognition of Indigenous History Month, we wanted to highlight some of the individuals dedicated to preserving and sharing Indigenous astronomy and the traditional star stories and knowledge.

Artist and astronomer, Annette Lee:

Astronomer and Knowledge Keeper Elder, Wilfred Buck:

Professor of Indigenous studies, Will Morin:

Annette Lee, in collaboration with other Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and scholars has created , a website full of resources, guides, and events on Indigenous star knowledge. She has co-authored books and resources for all ages.
The Ojibwe and D/Lak ota star maps created by Annette Lee, William P. Wilson, and Carl Gawboy, ©2012 are included in the free planetarium software Stellarium as "Sky Cultures" accessible in the "View" menu, under "Starlore".

Elder Dr. Duke Redbird is an established Indigenous intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, filmmaker and keynote speaker. His current project, Wigwam Chi-Chemung (translated as "Pontoon Houseboat") was presented last summer during the inaugural T oronto Biennial of Art where he gave a talk with Dr. Renée Hložek titled "Decolonizing Astrophysics".

Dr. Redbird has partnered with the Myseum project in Toronto to host twice-weekly "Ask and Elder" virtual sessions.
Each 30-minute block is limited to 8 participants, so registration is required:

The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) provides educational resources on Indigenous inclusion, as well as several upcoming virtual events:

For Pride month this year, the McDonald Institute was proud to present a newly created Pride logo. We used the 2017 Philadelphia Pride flag that includes black and brown to represent racial diversity within the LGBT Q2S+ community.

We are extremely proud of the diversity of gender and sexual orientation within our community. We strive to be diverse, inclusive, and equitable and are committed to fostering an open and welcoming community for everyone.

The McDonald Institute Pride logos can be downloaded from our brand toolkit web page.

500 Queer Scientists is a visibility campaign to highlight the accomplishments and lives of LGBTQAI+ people working in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Young people often do know what is possible for them until they see that they belong. Identity is intimately connected with success anywhere, including STEM.

If you are a scientist from the LGBTQ2S+ community, consider joining!

We'd like to give a special shout out to Simran Nerval and Ingrida Semenec , McDonald Institute graduate students that are already involved in 500 Queer Scientists.

Wednesday of last week, the XENON1T experiment held an online talk to showcase some potentially exciting data. XENON1T is currently the world’s most sensitive dark matter direct detection experiment, located in the underground Italian Laboratorio Nazionali Del Gran Sasso. The experiment consists of 3.2 tonnes of ultrapure liquid xenon and aims to detect the minute amounts of energy that may be released when elusive dark matter particles strike the xenon nuclei in the experiment.
XENON1T is sensitive to interactions of dark matter with both nuclei and with the electrons around each xenon atom, thanks to the two different detection channels in their Time Projection Chamber. In their talk, and in the corresponding arXiv preprint ( ), the XENON collaboration found something unexpected: more electron recoil events at low energies than anticipated from background sources. They put forward some possible explanations, including a postulated axion emitted from the Sun, or something more mundane such as contamination from near-unmeasurably small amounts of tritium. Since the announcement, phenomenologists have posted nearly 30 papers on the arXiv, offering possible interpretations of the signal. While it seems that the axion interpretation is probably disfavoured by observations of other stars, a new “fifth force” from interactions with solar neutrinos ( ) or some type of inelastic dark matter ( ) are possible explanations.

Figure: Event rate versus energy E R reported by the XENON1T collaboration, along with some models of new physics that may explain it via the interaction of solar neutrinos via a new force mediator (scalar or vector), or via an unusually large neutrino magnetic dipole moment, from

If something more down-to-earth, like tritium the cause ( ), this result will still have demonstrated that dark matter direct detection experiments are now competing with multi-tonne detectors such as Borexino in the search for new neutrino physics at low energies.

Conversations Confronting COVID-19 Virtual Event Series
A new virtual event series, Conversations Confronting COVID-19, has been launched as part of the Discover Research@Queen’s campaign to examine these questions at the forefront of our minds and assess both challenges and unique opportunities the situation has presented.

The new series, which had its first event on June 24, aims to address some of the challenges and opportunities presented by the global pandemic:
Department of Chemistry graduate student Hailey Poole takes samples from a prototype batch of sanitizer.

Achieving success in your career requires ongoing training and education. The Professional Development and Learning Series at the McDonald Institute is designed to identify, develop, and enhance the transferable skills needed for successful careers. Students, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty come together as a community for weekly online seminars covering topics of career preparation for academic and non-academic jobs, Startup entrepreneurship, managing complex research, competitive presentations, communication skills, and inclusivity in the workplace. The series draws on experts to lead conversations and enhance learning opportunities.

The PD&L Series welcomes new attendees each week and is held on Tuesday afternoons at 1:30 pm EDT. Sessions are announced weekly over the PD&L listserve, and registration is required through the website to attend. 
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020: 1:00-2:00 pm EDT

Interview Strategies Workshop

In our first interview workshop (April 28), we focused on learning strategies to respond to common questions encountered in interviews. This workshop will provide more space to practice applying these strategies by focusing on your own relevant skills and experiences. Develop confidence as you hone your stories and messages and become more persuasive in the way you communicate in interviews.

Presenter: Jenny Lee Northey is currently a career counsellor at Queen’s Career Services, supporting post-secondary students in their career development. With over ten years of experience working in the education, career, and employment sectors. Jenny integrates her background in intercultural communication, equity, diversity and inclusion, empowering individuals in their next steps forward in their career.

Tuesday July 14, 2020: 1:30pm – 2:30pm EDT

Introduction to Scientific Publishing

Scientific publishing originated in the late 1600s with the publication of the first two scientific journals, the  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society  and the  Journal des sçavans . Today there are tens of thousands of scientific and technical journals, conference proceedings, report series, and other types of publications. This session will provide an overview of the current scientific publishing landscape, the peer review process, and tools that you can use to identify the journals and other publications in your field.

Presenter: Michael White is the librarian for research services in the Engineering & Science Library and the liaison librarian for the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy (Queen’s University).His research interests include bibliometrics, the history of science and engineering libraries, and patent information.
If you have questions about the Professional Development and Learning Series, please contact Alexandra Pedersen, Business Development Officer at .

Please see the website for future offerings and registration: .

Not sure if the Series is for you?
Hear what our members are saying about their experience:

"The career development of each HQP and their success are essential for us. The McDonald Institute has launched a fantastic online workshop series of Professional Development and Learning, which provides them with proper experience and knowledge to prepare them to be competent, successful and competitive for the next stage of their career. I have participated in a few of them, and wow! 
It is really a fantastic opportunity for the HQP to cover a large area of training from activities focused on teaching, writing a resume/cv/cover letter, preparing for interviews to the education on how to be efficient in their work, in communicating and sharing their knowledge. It’s interactive, interesting, addressing all stages of career objectives and personal goals such as graduate school or professional schools, a scientific career in government or industry, teaching career, or in a related career.
It also raises awareness about the importance of a respectful, welcoming and collaborative environment where they all can share their skills, their experience, where everyone has the opportunity to be heard and participate without any distinction, exclusion or preference. This program certainly ensures a successful education and prepares them for a brilliant career!"

- Dr. Marie-Cécile Piro
(Assistant Professor - Physics/McDonald Institute Faculty Member, University of Alberta)

“Being a part of the Professional Development Learning Series has been a huge opportunity for me to feel belonging and involved on a deeper level with the McDonald Institute and Queen’s. With my Cross-Disciplinary Internship being transferred to remote work due to the pandemic, it has given me the opportunity to meet and see more people that I would have missed working remotely. Also, being an undergraduate student thinking more about the workplace and all aspects of my future career early on feels extremely rewarding!”

- Sidney Leggett,
Undergraduate in Computer Science at the University of Manitoba - Cross-Disciplinary Summer Intern with the McDonald Institute.

“The PD&L Series is more than just a collection of lectures, but a program that provides engaging, valuable workshops to improve yourself and those around you. Alex and the McDonald Institute team has done an outstanding job of providing an array of interactive sessions that are applicable to students no matter your discipline. After each session, I am left feeling energized and ready to put the topics to practice. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the weekly sessions bring a much-needed sense of community and are key to keeping me motivated amidst the current circumstances.”

- Morgan Lehtinen,
PhD Candidate, Chemistry, Queen’s University. 
SNOLAB Seminar Series

Dark and Shiny Dresses Around Bla ck Holes
Monday,  July 6th,  at 1 pm ET
Dr. Daniele Gaggero, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain

LXenon Purification 
Wednesday, July 22nd,  at 1 pm ET
Prof. Marie-Cécile Piro, University of Alberta, Canada

New Results from IceCube  
Monday  July 27th,  at 1 pm ET
Prof. Juan Pablo Yanez, University of Alberta, Canada

Monday,  August 10th,  at 1 pm ET
(Dr. Jeanne Wilson, King's College London)

New Limit from the Search for Neutrinoless-Double-Beta-Decay of 100Mo with the CUPID-Mo Experiment
Monday,  August 17th,  at 1 pm ET
Dr. Ben Schmidt, LBL, US

DARWIN and its Science Program
Monday,  August 24th,  at 1 pm ET
Prof. Laura Baudis, University of Zurich, Switzerland

ProtoDUNE/DUNE Single-Phase Cryogenic Infrastructure and its Science Program
Monday,  August 31 st , at 1 pm ET
Dr. Stefania Bordoni, CERN, Switzerland

Directional DM Experiments
Monday,  September 14th,  at 1 pm ET
Prof. Elisabetta Baracchini, GSSI, Italy

Reducing the Impact of Radioactivity on Q uantum Circuits  in a D eep-Underground Facility
Monday,  September 21st,  at 1 pm ET
Dr. Laura Cardani, Roma1 INFN

For those interested in attending, please send an email to Mark Richardson indicating your interest.
Stoodis Science: Future Scientists Program for Indigenous youth.
The Stoodis Future Scientist Program is a free virtual three-day program open to First Nations, Inuit and Metis high school students who are interested in STEM. Future scientists will learn how their own culture and knowledge can advance their work in STEM fields. This year's program includes leadership workshops, exploring science opportunities and engaging with professionals in the field.

Please consider your personal and professional networks and share this initiative where you feel it may have the most impact further education.

G.I.R.L.S. Initiative launches STEM Stories:
What does it take to become a scientist? Where do they come from, and how did they get to where they are? STEM Stories explores the lives of top female scientists and their pathways to becoming leading experts in the world.

Tune in weekly, Thursdays at 1 pm EDT / 11 am PDT to hear and interact with the top minds in science. This 20-minute program will feature a 10-minute autobiography by guest scientists, followed by a 10-minute live Q&A.

Everyone is welcome to join and participate in the journey and exploration of the lives of the greatest minds of our time.

In an effort to do something collaborative while many of us are apart, the outreach team at SNOLAB has started a walk to the Moon challenge!

Submit any steps or kilometres you walk (or run, cycle, paddle, etc.) using this form: . Everyone's efforts will be combined, and together we will walk to the moon!
Weekly updates will be available on the SNOLAB website ( ) and social media channels (@SNOLABscience).

SNOLAB is reaching out and encouraging participation from labs, universities and institutions around the world. If you think they might be interested, feel free to share this challenge with your colleagues.

It is a fun way to work together and stay active while learning a bit about our Earth's natural satellite - check out the resource section in the webstory:

Thank you for your continued interest in the Canadian astroparticle physics community.
If you would like to view past newsletters from the McDonald Institute, please visit the: Newsletter Archive .

As a special thank you for reading all the way through, please enjoy this McDonald Institute desktop wallpaper/Zoom background!

Stay home and stay safe, and thank you all for doing your part!

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