York Science Forum: Evolution of the Universe

Evolution of the Universe
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Join us as particle physicist and Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald takes us on a journey through the underground Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB) to measure the smallest and most elusive particles in the universe.

Followed by a panel discussion also featuring York physicists Sampa Bhadra and Scott Menary, moderated by Matt McGrath, BBC journalist and York Science Communicator in Residence.

About the speaker and panelists

Arthur McDonald is a Canadian physicist, Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University and Director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB) Collaboration. In 2001, Professor McDonald and his colleagues at SNOLAB discovered that neutrinos change identities, or oscillate from one flavor (electron, muon, or tau) to another – proving that neutrinos have mass. The discovery changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and led to Professor McDonald receiving the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shared with Japanese physicist Kajita Takaaki. Professor McDonald is also a co-recipient of the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, the 2010 Killam Prize, and the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

Sampa Bhadra is a Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at York University. She studies the properties of neutrinos in collaboration with the Tokai to Kamioka (T2K) experiment in Japan. Using beams of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, the T2K experiment investigates whether neutrino physics holds the key to why our universe is made only of matter. Professor Bhadra and the T2K team received the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for their “fundamental discovery of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics;” she was the project lead for monitoring readings from an Optical Transition Radiation device and ensuring the experiment was conducted safely. Professor Bhadra is also an Affiliate Scientist at TRIUMF.

Scott Menary is a Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at York University. He is a member of the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) experiment, which seeks to understand why antimatter doesn’t exist in the Universe. (In the Big Bang, matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts, but the universe is now dominated by matter.) The team is comparing an antimatter system, antihydrogen, to the most precisely measured matter system that exists, hydrogen. The experiment is being conducted at the European Centre for Particle Physics (or CERN) in Switzerland. Professor Menary and the Canadian team on ALPHA received the 2013 NSERC Polanyi Prize for demonstrating that it was possible to capture antimatter atoms in a magnetic bottle and developing methods that led to the first measurement of the properties of atomic antimatter.

About the moderator

Matt McGrath is currently a Science Communicator in Residence at the Faculty of Science at York University. As a BBC Science and Environment Correspondent, McGrath reports on some of the most difficult and challenging issues of our time for a global audience on the BBC News website, BBC World Service radio, and the BBC’s global TV outlets. He played a key role in the BBC coverage of global climate change negotiations through the years, from the failure of Copenhagen in 2009 to the success of Paris in 2015. McGrath has also worked as a news anchor for World Service radio, made science documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and pioneered the use of mobile phones for reporting. He conducted in-depth investigations into controversial areas including cheating in carbon accounting and the use of drugs in sport. McGrath was a 2010-2011 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Techology (MIT) and is a frequent guest speaker and panellist on environment and climate change issues. Originally from Tipperary, Ireland, McGrath was educated at University College Cork and Bournemouth University in the U.K. He got his start in journalism working on computer magazines such as PC Home and PC Today in the 1990s.

Who can attend: Everyone
Fee: Free
Registration: Eventbrite
Organized by: York University Faculty of Science and The Fields Institute
Location: York University, Accolade West Building, Room 206, 89 York Blvd. (near the new TTC York University Station)