SNO Team Members Win Benjamin Franklin Medal

Thursday, April 26, 2007

(Ottawa) – The Franklin Institute will present the Benjamin Franklin Medal to the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Director Dr. Art McDonald and co-winner Yoji Totsuka for groundbreaking research on the nature of neutrinos in that they change ‘flavour’ and have mass. Included in the SNO team are Carleton University physicists Dr. David Sinclair, Director and Principal Investigator of SNOLAB, Dr. Alain Bellerive, Canada Research Chair in Experimental Particle Physics, Dr. Cliff Hargrove, Dr. Richard Hemingway, Dr. Peter Watson and post-doctoral candidates, students and engineers at Carleton University.

“This award is confirmation of the innovative studies conducted by the world-class Canadian researchers at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory,” says Dr. Kimberly Matheson, Acting Vice-President (Research and International). “The Carleton SNO team is proud that The Franklin Institute Awards Program one of their own.”

The SNO team operates a $100 million detector housed in the world’s deepest underground laboratory, two kilometers below the surface INCO’s Creighton mine, near Sudbury, Ontario. The detector is used to look for neutrinos – the smallest subatomic particles in the universe. Billions of neutrinos pass through the earth (as well as people) every second with no noticeable effect.

Since SNO’s inception, the Carleton team has contributed in several areas of its detector design but its major responsibility was for the systems which produce heavy water of unprecedented purity. The water allows the SNO detector to find and register neutrinos. SNO is the only instrument in the world that can detect all three types, or “flavours” of neutrinos with equal sensitivity. The SNO team was the first to prove that neutrinos were “changing their flavour” after leaving the Sun's core. This means that their mass and behaviour change spontaneously as they speed through space. The SNO measurements also indicated that the most basic laws of physics are incomplete and provided information that could lead to a more complete description of nature at the subatomic level. All of these discoveries led Science magazine to acclaim that the SNO research was one of the most important scientific discoveries in the world.

The SNO team includes over 150 scientists from Carleton University and Queen’s University, as well as other Canadian universities and several institutions world-wide.

Brilliant Research. Brilliant Researchers
Carleton University is a dynamic, internationally renowned research institution located in Ottawa—Canada's capital. Carleton provides leadership to the interdisciplinary conduct of research, scholarship, and creative activity. It has innovative programs in sciences, engineering, arts, and public administration and has realized partnerships with numerous public and private sector organizations. Its strengths have led to international recognition for its faculty, as well as an ability to attract outstanding students.

About the Franklin Institute Awards
For 182 years, The Franklin Institute has honored the greatest men and women of science, engineering, and technology. The Franklin Institute Awards are among the oldest and most prestigious comprehensive science awards in the world. Among science's highest honors, The Franklin Institute Awards identify individuals whose great innovation has benefited humanity, advanced science, launched new fields of inquiry, and deepened our understanding of the universe.

For more information:
Dr. David Sinclair
Director and Principal Investigator, SNOLAB
613.866 7636
david_sinclairatcarleton [dot] ca

Mandy Sinclair
Media Relations
Carleton University