Honorary degree announced

(Edmonton) In recognition of the outstanding contributions Art McDonald has made on a global scale in the field of particle astrophysics, the University of Alberta will bestow on him an honorary degree during the opening celebrations of the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science Sept. 23.

McDonald’s work has propelled Canada onto the world stage of particle astrophysics through innovative collaboration at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, known as the SNOLAB Institute. His early research involved the use of the nucleus as a laboratory for the investigation of fundamental symmetries and interactions in particle physics. After 12 years at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories of Atomic Energy Canada, he accepted a professorship at Princeton University and continued his research program there as co-principal Investigator of the Princeton Cyclotron. In 1989 he accepted a position at Queen’s University as professor of physics and director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, and he is currently the Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics and associate director of the SNOLAB Institute.

He has led a $100-million research program in co-operation with Canadian, British and American scientists. Their work with neutrinos, the second most-common particle in the universe after photons, ultimately proved that neutrinos have mass and change character as they travel through the sun. There is increasing evidence that neutrinos play a very central role in the evolution of the cosmos.

An officer of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, McDonald has served on numerous advisory committees to Canadian and American scientific agencies and laboratories and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. McDonald is a recipient of the Bonner Prize from the American Physical Society, the Canadian Association of Physicists Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Physics, the Bruno Pontecorvo Prize in Particle Physics and the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering.

University Chancellor Linda Hughes is delighted to have the opportunity to bestow the honorary doctorate during the opening of the new Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, noting McDonald’s “unique and outstanding contributions to learning, discovery and citizenship.”

The opening celebrations and conferral ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. in the atrium of the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science on Friday, Sept.23.