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Past Winner
2013 NSERC NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

ALPHA-Canada Team

ALPHA-Canada Team: Dr. Mike Hayden (Simon Fraser University), Dr. Walter Hardy (University of British Columbia), Dr. Makoto C. Fujiwara (TRIUMF/University of Calgary), Dr. Art Olin (TRIUMF/University of Victoria), Dr. David Gill (TRIUMF), Dr. Scott Menary (York University), and Dr. Robert Thompson (University of Calgary)

Understanding Antimatter: The Canadian Connection

Canadian scientists have narrowed the gap between science-fiction and reality. In 2010 and 2011, Canadian researchers on the ALPHA research team at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, played key roles in demonstrating that it was possible to capture antimatter atoms in a magnetic bottle. Then in 2012, they developed methods that led to the first measurement of the properties of atomic antimatter.

These are breakthroughs no scientist or scientific discipline could achieve alone. The 40-member ALPHA Collaboration included a Canadian team—led by Dr. Makoto C. Fujiwara—of more than a dozen scientists and students working in plasma, atomic, condensed-matter, particle, detector and accelerator physics, from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), the University of Calgary, York University and the TRIUMF subatomic physics research lab in Vancouver.

Researchers Drs. Walter Hardy (UBC) and Mike Hayden (SFU) conceived and developed the microwave techniques for this latest experiment, working closely with Dr. Robert Thompson and his student Timothy Friesen (University of Calgary), and Ph.D. student Mohammad Ashkezari (SFU). Meanwhile, researchers Drs. Art Olin, David Gill and Makoto C. Fujiwara as well as postdoctoral trainee Dr. Simone Stracka from TRIUMF, and Scott Menary from York University teased faint signals from a sophisticated detector system to pinpoint matter–antimatter annihilation events.

The seamless collaboration among this multidisciplinary team, its mastery of multiple technologies, and its tight integration with the international team at CERN has earned it the prestigious 2013 John C. Polanyi Award.

The full list of ALPHA-Canada team members (current and former) includes:

University of British Columbia: Nathan Evetts*, Andrea Gutierrez*, Walter Hardy, Mario Michan*, Takamasa Momose, Sarah Seif El Nasr*

University of Calgary: Timothy Friesen*, Richard Hydomako*, Robert Thompson

Simon Fraser University: Mohammad Ashkezari*, Ryan Dunlop*, Mike Hayden

TRIUMF:  Makoto C. Fujiwara, David Gill, Leonid Kurchaninov, Konstantin Olchanski, Art Olin, James Storey*, Simone Stracka*

York University: Chanpreet Amole*, Andrea Capra*, Scott Menary

(*Graduate students and postdoctoral trainees)

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