Issue 44, May 17th, 2023

Hi Zachary,

Happy Spring! We hope you are enjoying the nice weather and getting some time in your gardens, parks, and other sunlit spaces! We know it's crunch time which can be challenging. Just remember that this is your time to shine! You are capable, knowledgable, and you've got this!

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

SAVE THE DATE: August 8-10

Celebrating Astroparticle Physics Research Progress:

National Meeting at Queen's University

The Community Meeting at Queen's University from August 8-10 celebrates the exceptional research progress achieved over the past seven years in astroparticle physics. This event, encompassing a dozen international collaborations and numerous theoretical breakthroughs, is open to all members of the Canadian astroparticle physics research community.


The meeting will feature morning research keynotes and update presentations, followed by afternoon plenary sessions addressing long-term community priorities for science support, equitable working environments, HQP career mobility, and funding strategies. These sessions are designed to keep you informed about the overall research progress of the national community and to actively engage you in the Institute's planning for its next decade of work. 


We are particularly dedicated to promoting HQP involvement in the national meeting and will offer substantial financial travel reimbursement support to eligible students, postdocs, and associates upon request. 


Please visit to register and learn more about the meeting.

New McDonald Institute EDII Manager: Dr. Alex Pedersen (she/her) 

We’re very excited to announce the creation of a new position at the McDonald Institute: Manager for Equity, Inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII) Capacity Development. While preparing a new operating plan for the Institute, the administrative team recognized the growing need for a dedicated EDII role. Since its inception in 2017, The McDonald Institute has had a strong EDII mandate implemented through various programs and initiatives. Many of you will be familiar with the extensive EDII responsibilities that Dr. Alex Pedersen took on through her role as Business Development Officer. This work is extremely important to Alex, and it is with great fortune that we can welcome her to this newly created role. 


Alex has had a significant impact on the EDII mission at the McDonald Institute since joining the team in 2019. Her work implementing the Equity DEAP Tool for Faculty has played an important role in training and preparing faculty for more EDII programs and best practices. Indigenization and decolonization is increasingly relevant in our community, and Dr. Pedersen has been a guiding force of the McDonald Institute’s commitments to increasing awareness of Indigenous issues. Alex has also facilitated and participated in several student groups addressing EDII issues, such as the Queen’s Round Table Discussions, and supported the creation of the GEMINI-P group. Many of you will also know Alex to be extremely approachable, helpful, and dependable in helping community members with EDII issues. The creation of this position will allow Alex to focus on the work that is most meaningful to her and where she feels she can bring the most value to the Canadian Astroparticle Physics Community. 

This position recognizes a need within the community for someone to serve as a compassionate, and caring leader in the EDII programs and processes.  

Alex holds a PhD in Human Geography, and continues to teach and conduct research as an Adjunct Faculty member as part of the Masters of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership (MEERL) program at Queen’s University. Alex’s research supports and documents experience of Indigenous and non-Indigenous rights defenders who oppose Canadian mining company operations abroad. Alex is an active volunteer in the Queen’s and Kingston communities – she is the co-treasurer for the Queen’s University Association for Queer Employees (QUAQE) and the President of the Limestone Beekeepers’ Guild.

If you would like to know more about the DEAP Tool at the McDonald Institute, or connect with Alex about her new position, you can reach her at:

McDonald Institute Engineering Design Group Updates

The McDonald Institute engineering design group welcomed three new engineers in March and one SWEP engineering student in May (Nicholas Moss, Armin Mirabolghasemi, Mackenzie Dean, and Madelyn Bratuz). These engineers are actively supporting a range of experiments, including PICO, SBC, and NEWS-G.

We're also introducing a new honourary member, baby Adelaide, born January 2023 to parents Jonathan & Emma Corbett! Congratulations and welcome! Jonathan Corbett, having recently returned from his parental leave, will offer his expertise and aid in guiding the engineering team while Koby Dering steps away for his own parental leave later in May.

“I love working at MI because of the wide variety of experiments we assist” explains Jonathan, “for the last two years, I have been working as a junior design engineer performing preliminary engineering calculations, writing procedures and technical notes, designing components, assisting with fabrication, assembly and testing of equipment, and giving technical advice and mentorship to students who are working on their own design project”. He continues, “I’m excited for the opportunity to learn how to (hopefully) effectively manage a team and hope to foster an environment of collaboration and shared knowledge within our engineering team."

Thanks, and Best of Luck to Max Edgington

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Max Edgington for his tremendous contributions to the McDonald Institute. Over the past several years, Max has played an integral role in supporting our community, coordinating HQP efforts, and assisting with our marketing and communications initiatives. His tireless dedication, creative ideas, and innovative approaches have been instrumental in enhancing the Institute's profile and advancing our mission.

We are also excited to congratulate Max on his new endeavours! Starting next month, he will be embarking on a new journey by attending a full-stack coding workshop. We are thrilled to see him pursuing this new field, and we have no doubt that his exceptional skills and work ethic will serve him well in this new role.

CAPSS returns with a full week of astroparticle physics at Queen's and SNOLAB.

For the first time since 2019, 24 students from across the world gathered at both Queen's and then at SNOLAB for the Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School (CAPSS). Attendees started with a crash course in astrophysics and particle physics, worked through several particle labs, and then learned about the big mysteries in the field, including dark matter and neutrino mass. The students had lots of time to network with each other and the McDonald Institute community at Queen's before travelling to Sudbury.

Participants had a fantastic time on Thursday touring the surface labs at SNOLAB, but the highlight of the week was returning the next morning for an in-depth underground tour of SNOLAB's many experiments and its unique space.

We can't wait for CAPSS 2024!

Photo in the Cryopit of the 2023 CAPSS students spelling out CAPSS

McDonald Institute's Scientific Director, Tony Noble, was quick to get the students into form for an impressive photo in the SNOLAB Cryopit.

SNOLAB hosts 2nd International Summit on the Future of Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay

The McDonald Institute would like to congratulate SNOLAB on hosting the 2nd International Summit on the Future of Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay. The event brought together over 100 leading researchers, including physicists, engineers, and theorists, to discuss the latest developments and future prospects in the field. Neutrinoless double beta decay is a rare and (and still hypothesized) nuclear process that could provide insights into the nature of neutrinos and the origin of matter in the universe. The summit included presentations on experimental techniques, theoretical models, and data analysis methods, as well as discussions on collaboration, funding, and outreach. The participants expressed optimism about the potential for new discoveries and breakthroughs in this field, and emphasized the need for continued investment and support for fundamental research. The summit was hailed as a great success and a testament to SNOLAB's leadership in particle physics research.

Summit_group-scaled image

Read the full recap at:

The Summer of Science program (available both in-person and virtually) is for students of all backgrounds and genders from 13-18 years of age. It is a free afternoon enrichment program for a small group of high school and middle school students (including students graduating this June). Over 12 afternoon sessions, the Summer of Science program focuses on physics and the process of doing science.

The application period has been extended and will close on May 31st.

For more information and details about how to apply, please visit:

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.

View the Careers website at:

We hope you find this community resource helpful!

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.

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

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