1 April 2016 14:48

Physicist Dr Laura Kormos received a standing ovation from MPs in the Canadian Parliament when she attended a ceremony to honour Nobel Laureate Professor Arthur McDonald.

She was invited along with Dr Helen O’Keeffe - who was unable to attend - in recognition of both physicists’ role in collaborative research with the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada.

In 2015, this international research earned the Observatory’s Director, Professor McDonald, a Nobel Prize for Physics shared with Professor Takaaki Kajita of Tokyo University.

Their experiments demonstrated that subatomic particles called neutrinos change identities, also known as "flavours."  This change requires that neutrinos have mass, dispelling the long-held notion that they had no mass.  

In recognition of their role in this Nobel prizewinning research, Drs Kormos and O’Keeffe were  both invited to the ceremony in Ottawa by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, the Canadian Minister of Science, and the Honourable Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Dr Kormos said she was thrilled to have attended the ceremony, where all the Sudbury collaborators were asked to rise alongside Professor McDonald to a standing ovation from the MPs. 

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Standing in the Visitor's Gallery while MPs stood to applaud us for our work in pure physics research was an emotive and unforgettable experience, and not something I anticipated when I began my career in particle physics.”

The ceremony in the Houses of Parliament also included statements by MPs and by the Speaker on the importance of being inspired by scientific curiosity and of the scientific work done by the Observatory.

Physics at Lancaster