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Queen’s professor emeritus wins Nobel Prize

Arthur McDonald

Queen’s University professor emeritus Arthur McDonald is the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics.

The announcement, made Tuesday morning by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, said Dr. McDonald won the award, along with Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo, “for their key contributions to the experiments which demonstrated that neutrinos change identities.”

Dr. McDonald received the call from the Nobel committee at 5 am adding that he immediately had a feeling of “tremendous accomplishment by our team.”

“I am truly honoured to receive the Nobel Prize in physics,” Dr. McDonald says. “While I am a co-winner of the Nobel Prize, the honour really represents a culmination of the hard work and contributions of Canadian and international colleagues with whom I have collaborated with during my career.”

It was a momentous day not only for Dr. McDonald but for Queen’s as well.

“I want to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Dr. McDonald on this significant achievement,” says Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Dr. McDonald’s scientific contributions have advanced our understanding of the universe, and also set the path for new directions in the study of physics and astronomy. His innovative vision has made Canada a world-leader in the field of particle astrophysics and paved the way for fruitful international collaborations.”

The findings solved a puzzle that physicists had wrestled with for decades, the academy added in its announcement.

Dr. McDonald’s research took place at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) scientific collaboration, an advanced research facility located 2km underground in an active nickel mine. The experiment demonstrated that neutrinos from the sun were not disappearing on their way to earth and were captured with a different identity when arriving at SNO.

Read the full story in the Queen’s Gazette.