Sudbury Neutrino Observatory and T2K Collaborations share $3M Breakthrough Prize

On 2015 November 8, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Collaboration shared the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, valued at $3 million, with T2K/K2K and three other international collaborations (Super Kamiokande, KamLAND, and Daya Bay) “for the fundamental discovery of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics.” Both SNO and T2K/K2K boast significant involvement from Canadian scientists across the country, including a host of CAP individual, departmental, and institutional members (SNO and TRIUMF).

SNO began in the early 80s after (long-time CAP members) George Ewan (Queen’s University), Walter Davidson (NRC) and Pierre Depommier (Université de Montréal) led a small group exploring the possibility of a deep underground laboratory in Canada, following visits to the NRC by Norman Ramsay (Harvard) in 1982 and Ken Lande (UPenn) in 1983 (see for an article on the founding of SNO). This led, in 1984, to the formation of the SNO collaboration which began with 16 collaborators, led by co-spokesmen Professor George Ewan of Queen’s University and Professor Herb Chen of the University of California, Irvine who were joined in 1985 by Professor David Sinclair of Oxford University. 17 years later, their breakthrough neutrino results were first announced in June 2001 at the CAP Congress held in Victoria, BC. The ground breaking work by the collaboration, which included many members of the CAP, ultimately would lead to the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics to Queen’s University professor emeritus and SNO Director Arthur McDonald (another long-time CAP member).

The T2K experiment received key innovations and support from TRIUMF that enabled it to provide data with uncertainties smaller than would have otherwise been possible. These include the use of off-axis neutrino beams, and an Optical Transition Radiation detector (with CAP Departmental members York University and University of Toronto). TRIUMF also hosts the T2K Tier-1 analysis center.

TRIUMF is Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. It is owned and operated as a joint venture by a consortium of 19 Canadian universities, all of whom are CAP departmental members. Dozens of TRIUMF scientists were involved in the SNO as well as the T2K collaborations..

The CAP takes great pride in the accomplishments of all its members in the SNO, Super Kamiokande, T2K/K2K, KamLAND, and Daya Bay collaborations and offers its heartiest congratulations for a job very well done.


For more information please see:

The Canadian SNO Collaboration participants, all of whom are Departmental and Institutional members of the CAP, include:

  • Queen’s University
  • Carleton University
  • Laurentian University
  • University of Guelph
  • University of British Columbia
  • Chalk River Laboratories (to 1996)
  • National Research Council of Canada (to 1991)
  • University of Alberta (since 2007)

The T2K-Canada collaboration consists of 40 scientists from eight institutions, including TRIUMF, the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, the University of Regina, the University of Winnipeg, York University, and the University of Toronto.