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Canada-Japan graduate student exchange program launched


An international graduate student exchange program between Canada and Japan will help to further our understanding of the mysterious “dark matter” particles thought to make up 20 per cent of the universe.

Supported by Honda Canada Inc., the new program is a partnership between SNOLAB – the underground research facility that has evolved from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – and the Kamioka Observatory in Hida-city, Gifu prefecture, Japan. Both facilities are leading international underground science laboratories.

“It is wonderful to have this opportunity to increase the scientific cooperation between Canada and Japan,” says Queen’s University Physics professor Art McDonald, SNO Institute Director and Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics. “We are grateful to Honda Canada for providing this excellent educational opportunity for students from our two countries.”

Experiments at both the Canadian and Japanese laboratories have made substantial breakthroughs in the understanding of the basic laws of physics, as well as the physics of the sun. Future measurements will explore the composition and evolution of the universe and provide further information of the properties of fundamental particles such as neutrinos.

This set of common interests was recognized by Honda Canada Inc. with the establishment of the Honda Fellow program, to encourage graduate students and young researchers in the two labs to learn from each other. Each year until the end of 2009, a different student from an institution working at the Kamioka Observatory in Japan will spend three to six months working at SNOLAB, and a student whose principal research work is at SNOLAB will spend a similar amount of time at the Kamioka Observatory.

The first student from Japan, Kota Ueshima – a research student of Professor Nakahata at the University of Tokyo – is now working at SNOLAB. The first Canadian student to participate in the exchange is Olivier Simard, from Carleton University. He will travel to Kamioka this summer.

SNOLAB is an international facility operated by a group of Canadian universities, including Queen’s, Carleton University, Laurentian University, the University of Guelph, the University of British Columbia and the University of Montreal.

Queen’s researchers involved with SNOLAB include Art McDonald, founding director of the SNO Institute; Tony Noble, Wolfgang Rau and Mark Boulay, Canada Research Chairs in Particle Astrophysics; and Physics professor Mark Chen.


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