Issue 32, May 17th, 2022

We hope you are doing well. We're busy as ever here at the McDonald Institute and have lots of news and opportunities to share with you!

As always, please consider joining the Canadian Astroparticle Physics LinkedIn group. The group is a place to share and create opportunities for the community, and connect with others in the field.

SNO+ successfully enters its second operational phase

The SNO+ experiment has completed its second commissioning phase and is now taking data. After an arduous 3.5 year process of building, running, and checking ultra-purifying plants underground at SNOLAB and meticulously filling the SNO+ vessel with high purity liquid scintillator, the SNO+ experiment is ready to detect low-energy neutrinos and shed light on the fundamental nature of neutrinos, supernovae, the Sun, and the Earth’s structure. Read more on our website.

Want to see your research featured on our website? Have ideas for future articles? Contact CJ at [email protected] with your suggestions, and we will work with you to create the content you want to see.  
The SNO+ Detector following the scintillator fill, lit up with 2 spotlights. The inner vessel (12m in diameter) is filled with 780 tonnes of ultra-purified Liquid Scintillator (LAB + 2.2g/L PPO), while the outside of the vessel is surrounded by 7,000 tonnes of purified water. With filling operations now completed, the experiment is now in a data taking phase, and the 10,000 sensitive light detectors in the outer vessel will study interactions of neutrinos from nuclear reactors, neutrinos from heat-producing elements from deep in the Earth, from the Sun, and from distant supernovae. (Credit: SNO+ Collaboration)

Aaron Vincent recognized with Early Researcher award
The McDonald Institute congratulates Dr. Aaron Vincent of Queen’s University, who is a recipient of an Early Researcher Award (ERA) from the Government of Ontario. The ERA provides researchers with $100,000 to help establish research teams. 

Dr. Vincent described his research in an article for the Queen’s Gazette: “‘While significant experimental efforts are underway to detect dark matter in underground experiments, the first hints of its nature may come to us from astronomical observations of a billion stars by the Gaia satellite,’ Vincent explains. His team will perform theoretical calculations of the small but measurable effects of dark matter on the Sun and other Sun-like stars, in the hope of discovering dark matter’s true nature.” Read the full article here.

Drift: Art and Dark Matter at UofT
DRIFT: Art and Dark Matter is now showing at the University of Toronto Art Museum.

DRIFT is a unique residency and exhibition project created by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, The McDonald Institute, and SNOLAB. Artists Nadia Lichtig, Josèfa Ntjam, Anne Riley, and Jol Thoms met with astroparticle physicists and toured the underground facilities at SNOLAB. As described by the Agnes, the artists’ works “reflect on the “how” and “why” of physics and art as diverse and interrelating practices of knowledge. Through open exchange between disciplines, they have created works that are sensory agents between scientific ideas of dark matter and the exploration of that which has never been directly sensed.” Read more here.

The show will be open May 11 - October 22, 2022. Visit the museum website for more information.

Photo Research Exhibit Portrays Gender inequities in science
In collaboration with world-renowned photographer Hilary Gauld, Eden Hennessey designs portraits of girls and women in science and their allies to re-imagine what gender inequities in science 'look like.'
#HonestlyChallenging 24” x 36” Digital Print with Amanda Desnoyers, PhD (Social Psychology) with son Oliver honestly speaking, “Men’s and women’s experiences can differ drastically - women (versus men) in STEM report more sexual harassment, isolation, stereotyping, and a battle to maintain work/life balance, which are #HonestlyChallenging.

Photographs in the #DistractinglySexist and #DistractinglyHonest are inspired by research about the various ways that Equity-seeking groups (e.g., women, Indigenous Peoples) experience gender inequity from issues around stereotyping, harassment, and the challenges of confrontation and speaking out. The exhibits, which are on display virtually at, aim to bring artful visibility to inequities in the scientific community and Hennessey cites Relative Deprivation Theory that “to enact change, one first must be able to recognize that one’s social group is deprived relative to another group”.

Young Person's Lecture Competition Deadline Extended! 
The deadline for the Young Person's Lecture Competition has been extended until the end of May! 

Students and professionals up to the age of 28 involved in any form of materials, minerals, mining, packaging, clay technology, wood science or engineering-related subjects are encouraged to apply. The competition bases itself around a short lecture given by contestants (12-15 minutes each) with questions from a judging panel supported by the IOM3. 

Last year, Hannah Ramsay (Queen's University) presented her talk on Silver Clusters: Small Material, Big Potential and won first place in the national and international competitions. This win earned Hannah a new MacBook Pro and $3000+. You can read more on Hannah’s experience with the competition here.

"If you are even considering participating, go for it! Win or lose, you will learn so much along the way, and it is such an excellent opportunity to practice communicating your work. Be confident, practice away, and have lots of fun!"
- Hannah Ramsay 

McDonald Institute's Summer of Science 2022 - FREE - Application period is now open!
While recognizing the difficulty at this current time, the McDonald Institute will again be running its Summer of Science during summer 2022. The Summer of Science is a free afternoon enrichment program for a small group of high school and middle school students (including students graduating this June). The program will be available virtually, and we will also try to have an in-person cohort for those in the Kingston area. Over 10 afternoon sessions, this program focuses on physics and the process of doing science. The Summer of Science program is led by undergraduates and joined by scientists at the McDonald Institute. Participating students explore through hands-on activities a variety of content and practices that are part of the every-day job of the astronomers and particle physicists at the McDonald Institute. This program’s goal is to supplement the focus on scientific content in the classroom with the tools of the trade that are at the heart of actually doing science. Activities will as much as possible involve students recreating and exploring these demonstrations at home before sharing with their cohort.

The deadline to apply is May 27th, 2022. Applicants need to send a one page letter of interest and have a teacher separately submit a letter of support to [email protected]. Please visit the website for more details of the program and application:

Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer Student Talk Competition (CASST)

The Canadian Astro-Particle Physics Summer Student Talk Competition (CASST) is now welcoming submissions! This is a chance to share your summer research with others in the field! All undergraduate summer students who are not currently engaged in graduate studies or have a graduate degree are encouraged to participate. Two competitors will be granted an all-expenses-paid opportunity to present in person at the 2023 Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Congress!

Have you registered yet? The abstract deadline for the Canadian Astro-Particle Physics Summer Student Talk Competition #CASST2022, cohosted by the McDonald Institute and SNOLAB, is getting closer! 

Submit an abstract before August 1st at:

The Graduate Student Exchange Program allows graduate students at a recognized Canadian academic institution to travel and work with another research group for up to six months to gain experience and bring new knowledge back to their home research group. This program is also open to international students coming to a recognized Canadian academic institution. This opportunity is limited to applicants studying Astroparticle physics or a related field. Application for partnership-development visits (of no less than two weeks duration) that could potentially lead to an exchange may also be granted.

The applicant must be:
A graduate student enrolled at a recognized Canadian academic institution travelling within Canada or internationally, OR
An international graduate student coming to a recognized Canadian Institution

This opportunity is limited to applicants studying astroparticle physics or a related field being applied to the advancement of astroparticle physics.

Visit the Graduate Student Exchange section of the Mcdonald Institute Funding Opportunities web page for more information.

PIRE GEMADARC summer school
PIRE-GEMADARC is an international collaboration created to improve germanium technologies to search for dark matter, neutrinoless double-beta decay, and other rare events. This intensive summer school is for young researchers working on dark matter detection experiments. The school runs from June 18 - 29, 2022, and is hosted in person at Queen’s University. Learn more about the sessions offered here, or register through Indico, here

The McDonald Institute Proof of Concept Seed Fund Pilot Program provides early-stage support for technology innovation supervised by an awardee. Funding of up to $20,000 CAD is currently available to offset the real costs to an eligible astroparticle physics researcher developing an early-stage demonstration of practical technologies either adapted, or transferred from research-driven activities. Funding may be used for a portion, or the entirety of costs incurred for, prototype development, technology integration, or technology demonstration. Once funds for the current Pilot are exhausted, the opportunity will close until the next fiscal year (April 2022- March 2023). Please contact Dr. Alexandra Pedersen (Business Development Officer) for additional information and application guidance. 

TeVPA 2022 will take place in person at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, 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.

Visit the conference website to submit an abstract:

Registration and payment will become available soon.

Explore opportunities in astroparticle physics!
The Careers in Astroparticle Physics website features jobs, research positions, and other career-building opportunities in the field in a highly discoverable way. Prospective and current students can easily find current postings to take their careers to the next step, or just to keep them inspired and optimistic about their future.

We hope you find this community resource helpful!

Connect with the community:

Share some new research or ask a question to the community at the Canadian Astroparticle Physics LinkedIn Group

For the latest physics memes, pet photos, and virtual conference chatrooms, always feel free to say "hi" in the McDonald Institute HQP Community Discord

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 ([email protected]) 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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