Benjamin Franklin Medal awarded for Sudbury Neutrino Observatory measurements - Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell among past recipients



    KINGSTON, ON, April 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Queen's University physicist Art
McDonald and the team of scientific sleuths from the Sudbury Neutrino
Observatory (SNO) have won another prestigious international award for their
groundbreaking discoveries about the nature of matter and the structure of the
universe.
    This week at a gala ceremony in Philadelphia, Dr. McDonald will receive
the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, with co-winner Yoji Totsuka from
the University of Tokyo, for "the discovery that neutrinos change flavour and
have mass." The Franklin Institute Awards Program honours scientists,
innovators and entrepreneurs who have made extraordinary scientific
achievements, benefited humanity, advanced science, launched new fields of
inquiry and increased the understanding of the universe.
    Past winners of these medals - which date back to 1824 - include Albert
Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Marie and Pierre Curie, and Orville Wright.
More than 100 Franklin Institute Laureates have gone on to receive Nobel
Prizes.
    "This is an outstanding international recognition for SNO Director Art
McDonald and the whole SNO Project team," says Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry
Rowe. "The Franklin Institute Awards are among the world's oldest and most
prestigious comprehensive science awards, with laureates representing some of
the most distinguished scientific achievements of the past 180 years."
    Dr. McDonald and his SNO team solved the 30-year-old puzzle of the
"missing solar neutrinos" in their underground laboratory two kilometres below
the surface of CVRD-INCO's Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Ontario. Their discovery
that neutrinos (sub-atomic particles considered the basic building blocks of
the universe) change from one type to another on their journey to Earth from
the Sun modifies the long-held Standard Model of particle physics, and was
designated as one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in the world
in 2001 by the journal Science.
    In 2006 the SNO team members were the first recipients of the
John C. Polanyi Award for outstanding scientific achievement. Dr. McDonald is
the Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics at Queen's, an
Officer of the Order of Canada, and past recipient of the Gerhard Herzberg
Gold Medal from NSERC Canada, the Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics from
the American Physical Society, and the Bruno Pontecorvo Prize from Russia.
    The SNO team includes more than 150 scientists from Queen's, Carleton,
Laurentian and Oxford Universities; the Universities of Guelph,
British Columbia, Pennsylvania, Washington and Texas; TRIIUMF, Berkeley, Los
Alamos and Brookhaven National Laboratories and LIP, Lisbon.
    "I am honored to accept the Franklin Medal for the scientific results
obtained by our SNO team", said Professor McDonald. "This has been a
tremendous collaborative effort over many years. Our success has arisen from
the combined talents and hard work of many colleagues and from the tremendous
support that we have received from our many international partners."
    Events surrounding the Franklin Institute Awards this week include
seminars, lectures by the nine recipients, interactive demonstrations and
educational programs for Philadelphia area students. The Franklin medals will
be presented on Thursday April 26.
    Many of the Canadian SNO scientists are involved in the development of
the new SNOLAB international underground science laboratory, expanding the
existing SNO research laboratory 2 km underground in INCO's Creighton mine
near Sudbury, Ontario. This new laboratory will provide opportunities for very
sensitive future measurements of Dark Matter particles thought to make up
about 25 per cent of the Universe, as well as other frontier measurements of
neutrino properties made possible by eliminating almost all sources of
radioactive background.

    For further information on the Franklin Awards:
    http://www.fi.edu/tfi/exhibits/bower/07/laureates.html

    For further information on SNO:
    http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/




For further information:

For further information: Nancy Dorrance, Queen's News & Media Services,
(613) 533-2869; Lorinda Peterson, Queen's News & Media Services, (613)
533-3234

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