CAP's Division of Particle Physics 2020 Contress Welcomes Over 300 Participants

July 07, 2020

Last year, SFU Physics welcomed more than 650 participants to the Burnaby campus for the 2019 Canadian Association of Physicists’ Congress. The show went on virtually for this year’s event, which continued to attract high numbers of Canadian scientists and researchers to on-line sessions.

CAP’s Division of Particle Physics (PPD), of which SFU Physics Prof. Matthias Danninger is Vice-Chair, welcomed a record-setting number of participants to its 2020 division sessions. Over 300 participants attended virtual PPD Congress sessions organized by Danninger and Prof. Marie-Cécile Piro of the University of Alberta, PPD Division Chair.

The series opened with an inspirational welcoming address from Nobel Laureate Dr. Art McDonald, who highlighted both the work of a consortium of particle physicists manufacturing ventilators to aid in the fight against COVID-19 and the importance of the June 10th academic Strike for Black Lives. Series topics reflected the diversity of particle physics research activities in Canada, including talks on Neutrino Physics, Dark Matter, detector development and instrumentation, and latest collider physics results. Each session had between 120 and 190 participants connected at any given time.

While the shift to a virtual Congress was not optional this year, Danninger sees the success of this year’s PPD sessions as revealing of the potential value of maintaining at least some virtual participation options even when researchers are again able to gather in person. “We were very excited to see the huge interest and support within our division,” he says. “This virtual congress allowed us to bring together students, researchers, and faculty members from Canada’s top research Universities as well as from many smaller teaching Universities and Colleges. Although this virtual congress cannot fully replace the value of an in-person conference, we may keep some components online in the future."