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Queen’s University professor wins Nobel Prize

By Jordan Merkley [1]

BELLEVILLE – Queen’s University professor Arthur B. McDonald has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics.

In collaboration with Takaaki Kajita of Japan, McDonald has been awarded the prize for the discovery of neutrino oscillations [2], which show that neutrinos have mass.

Neutrinos are subatomic particles produced by the decay of radioactive elements, and are elementary particles that lack an electric charge, according to the South Pole Neutrino Observatory [3].

McDonald and Kajita each led research groups that were trying to uncover the secrets of neutrinos. From the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory [4] and the SNOLAB [5], McDonald and his team studied neutrinos coming from the sun, and in 2001, the team proved that these neutrinos switched identities, meaning they must have mass. Together with the findings of Kajita’s team, the experiments discovered neutrino oscillations, a finding that Nobel Prize officials say is of ground-breaking importance for particle physics and for our understanding of the universe.