Carleton physicists who are exploring some of the world’s deepest, darkest secrets have received a helping hand from the McGuinty Government. Today, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci, on behalf of Ontario Premier and Minister of Research and Innovation, Dalton McGuinty, announced that the province will invest $8.73 million to expand the SNOLAB research facility located two kilometres underground at CVRD Inco’s Creighton Mine near Sudbury.

The province will spend $5.6 million through the Ontario Research Fund and $3.13 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to build a cryopit, a large cavern to store the low-temperature liquids and gases needed to conduct large-scale cryogenic experiments for the next generation of research into dark matter particles. Cryogenics is the study or production of very low temperatures.

On behalf of the SNOLAB participants, Carleton extends its thanks and appreciation to the Province and to all of the partners in the SNOLAB venture including the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the federal agencies FedNor and NSERC, and to the Sudbury host CVRD Inco.

“By acting now to expand the lab facilities, we’re seizing a vital opportunity to solidify Canada’s position as a world leader in the field of astroparticle physics,” said Carleton University physics professor Dr. David Sinclair, who is also SNOLAB Director of Facility Development. “As a result, for the foreseeable future, SNOLAB will be the largest, deepest, and cleanest facility available for this type of research.”

SNOLAB is a new permanent facility that is being constructed two kilometres underground in CVRD Inco’s Creighton Mine in Sudbury. It will continue the amazing research from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment to answer critical and fundamental questions behind the origin of the universe and the nature of matter. Carleton University is the administrator of this internationally renowned project that involves a number of Canadian and international partners including five other Canadian universities (Laurentian University, Queen’s University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Guelph, and the Université de Montréal).

The funding for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment was originally announced in January 1990 and the facility was opened in April 1998. Experiments at SNO have conclusively demonstrated that the smallest particles in the universe (neutrinos) morph into different varieties on their journey to Earth. This breakthrough discovery solved the mystery as to why two thirds of the neutrinos supposedly disappear during their journey. In 2002, the prestigious journal Science ranked discoveries made by SNO as number two in the world. It was decided that SNO had produced such phenomenal scientific research and results that a new permanent facility was needed. SNOLAB was born.

In November, 2005, a $10 million new Surface Research Centre was opened to provide a state-of-the-art working environment for the more than 150 scientists who work on the project. This includes the Carleton team of 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. Dr. Kevin Graham has now joined the Carleton SNOLAB team. In November, 2006, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) announced that scientists with the original SNO project had won the inaugural $250,000 Polanyi prize. This spring, the Franklin Institute presented the Benjamin Franklin Medal to SNO Director Dr. Art McDonald and co-winner Yoji Totsuka for groundbreaking research on the nature of neutrinos.


For more information:

Dr. David Sinclair
Director and Principal Investigator of SNOLAB
Carleton University Physics Professor
613-520-2600 ext. 7536
(cell) 613-866-7536
705-692-7000 ext. 2212

Lin Moody
Media Relations
Carleton University
613-520-2600 ext. 8705

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 in
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