Arthur B. McDonald

Queen's University

Primary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type: International Member (elected 2016)


Arthur McDonald is a native of Sydney, N.S. Canada. He is noted for his research work in basic nuclear and particle physics and astrophysics. He has degrees in physics from Dalhousie University (BSc, MSc) and Caltech (PhD) and nine honorary degrees. From 1969-1982 he was a Research Officer at AECL Chalk River Laboratories; 1982-1989, Professor at Princeton University; 1989-2013 Professor at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada and 2013 became Professor Emeritus. Since 1989 he has been Director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Scientific Collaboration. Among many awards, he is a Companion of the Order of Canada, Co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, the 2011 Tory Medal of the Royal Society of Canada and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and 2006 NSERC Polanyi Award with the SNO Collaboration. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Perimeter Institute.

Research Interests

Arthur McDonald began his studies of fundamental particle interactions during his graduate work at Caltech. His first measurements involved studies in nuclear physics aimed at understanding the underlying particle interactions. These began with studies of Coulomb symmetries in nuclei and continued with studies of parity symmetry in nuclear reactions as a way to isolate the weak interactions between up and down quarks and test the Standard Model of Particle Physics for Z exchange between these quarks. He was one of the founding members of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) international collaboration and became the Director of the project and the Collaboration in 1989. He and his collaborators demonstrated that electron neutrinos from the core of the sun change flavor in transit to Earth, requiring also that they have a finite mass. Both of these properties are beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics and led to the award of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics, shared with Takaaki Kajita of the SuperKamiokande Collaboration. Professor McDonald continues research at the SNOLAB underground laboratory, working with the DEAP collaboration to search for interactions of Dark Matter particles with 3600 kg of liquid argon. He is also working with the SNO+ collaboration to search for neutrino-less double beta decay, reusing the former SNO detector.

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software