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VANCOUVER, B.C. – Dr. Nigel Smith, Executive Director of SNOLAB, has been selected to serve as the next Director of TRIUMF. Succeeding Dr. Jonathan Bagger, who departed TRIUMF in January 2021 to become CEO of the American Physical Society, Dr. Smith's appointment comes as the result of a highly competitive, six-month international search. Dr. Smith will begin his 5-year term as TRIUMF Director on May 17, 2021.
"I am truly honoured to have been selected as the next Director of TRIUMF," said Dr. Smith. "I have long been engaged with TRIUMF's vibrant community and have been really impressed with the excellence of its science, capabilities and people. TRIUMF plays a unique and vital role in Canada's research ecosystem, and I look forward to continuing the legacy of excellence upheld by Dr. Jonathan Bagger and the previous TRIUMF Directors".
Founded in 1968, TRIUMF is Canada's particle accelerator centre. A multidisciplinary laboratory, TRIUMF is an international hub for discovery and innovation – pushing frontiers in research while training the next generation of leaders in science, medicine, and business. This breadth and impact are what attracted Dr. Smith to the role of Director, stating, "TRIUMF has an amazing portfolio of research covering fundamental and applied science that also delivers tangible societal impact through its range of medical and commercialisation initiatives. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead a laboratory with such a broad and world-leading science program."
"Nigel brings all the necessary skills and background to the role of Director," said Dr. Digvir Jayas, Interim Director of TRIUMF, Chair of the TRIUMF Board of Management, and Vice-President, Research and International at the University of Manitoba. "As Executive Director of SNOLAB, Dr. Smith is both a renowned researcher and experienced laboratory leader who offers a tremendous track record of success spanning the local, national, and international spheres. The Board of Management is thrilled to bring Nigel's expertise to TRIUMF so he may help guide the laboratory through many of the exciting developments on the horizon."
Dr. Smith joins TRIUMF at an important period in the laboratory's history, as the organization moves into the second year of its current Five-Year Plan (2020-2025) and prepares to usher in a new era of science and innovation that will include the completion of two major projects: the Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory (ARIEL) and the Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI). This new infrastructure, alongside TRIUMF's existing facilities and world-class research programs, will solidify Canada's position as a global leader in both fundamental and applied research. Dr. Smith expressed his optimism for TRIUMF, saying, "I am delighted to have this opportunity, and it will be a pleasure to lead the laboratory through this next exciting phase of our growth and evolution."
About Nigel Smith
Nigel Smith has served as SNOLAB as Director since July 2009. He currently holds a full Professorship at Laurentian University, adjunct Professor status at Queen's University, and a visiting Professorial chair at Imperial College, London. He received his Bachelor of Science in physics from Leeds University in the U.K. in 1985 and his Ph. D. in astrophysics from Leeds in 1991. He has served as a lecturer at Leeds University, a research associate at Imperial College London, group leader (dark matter) and deputy Division Head at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory before relocating to Canada to oversee the SNOLAB deep underground facility.
Dr. Smith has undertaken astroparticle physics research in extreme locations throughout his career, studying astronomical sources of ultra-high energy gamma rays using a telescope at the South Pole, searching for Galactic dark matter using detectors located 1100m underground at the Boulby facility in the U.K., and subsequently overseeing dark matter and neutrinos studies 2km underground at the SNOLAB facility in Canada. In 1987 he "wintered-over" as the sole operator of the telescope at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, being the first Briton to successfully winter at the Pole itself.
Established in 1968 in Vancouver, TRIUMF is Canada's particle accelerator centre. The lab is a hub for discovery and innovation inspired by a half-century of ingenuity in answering nature's most challenging questions. From the hunt for the smallest particles in our universe to research that advances the next generation of batteries or develops isotopes to diagnose and treat disease, TRIUMF drives more than scientific discovery. Powered by its complement of top talent and advanced accelerator infrastructure, TRIUMF is pushing the frontiers in isotope science and innovation, as well as technologies to address fundamental and applied problems in particle and nuclear physics, and the materials and life sciences. In collaboration with 21 Canadian universities, TRIUMF's diverse community of nearly 600 multidisciplinary researchers, engineers, technicians, tradespeople, staff, and students create a unique incubator for Canadian excellence, as well as a portal to premier global collaborations. Our passion for understanding everything from the nature of the nucleus to the creation of the cosmos sparks imagination, inspiration, improved health, economic opportunity, and a better world for all.
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