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SNO Cavern
CIO had the opportunity to talk to one of the most integral visionaries
at SNOLAB, the facility’s director, Nigel Smith. Dr. Smith was formally with
STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire, England where he
was Deputy Divisional Head (Precision Weak Physics) and Group
Leader (Dark Matter) before joining the SNOLAB team.
Why are scientists attracted
to SNOLAB, and what drove you
to take the position at SNOLAB?
I’m a physicist by trade, so I’ve
spent my whole life
doing interesting
projects in phys-
ics in extreme
For example,
for my PhD I
spent a year in
the South Pole.
The attraction to
SNOLAB stems from the
fact that it’s the best underground
lab in the world. It is the deepest
clean lab, and the one that has the
largest available spaces. It really
is the best place to do our sort of
science. This is one of the areas
Sudbury] that is sort of under-
represented in terms of our ability
to attracting international qualified
people from all around the world.
We bring highly qualified people
into the area, and putting Sudbury
and SNOLAB on the map.
What is so important about the
support you get from Vale, and
why is this synergy important to
share with the world?
It is great that Vale gives us the
support that they do. What do they
get out of it? Well, to begin with
Dr. Nigel Smith
Dr. Nigel Smith
attraction to SNOLAB
stems from the fact that it’s
the best underground lab in
the world.”
original barrel shaped cavity excavated
for the SNO experiment
largest cavern at this depth in the world
houses the SNO detector which was origi-
nally designed to detector Solar Neutrinos
using 1000 tonnes of heavy water as the
detecting medium
vessel was submerged in 7000 tonnes of
ultra pure “ordinary” water
heavy water was returned to Atomic
Energy of Canada in 2007 and the SNO
detector is now being converted to hold
liquid scintillator for the SNO+ experi-