Competition 2008-2009

The Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) of the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2009 DNP Thesis Prize is Robert Paul MacDonald. Dr. MacDonald was awarded his Ph.D. by the University of Alberta in 2008 for the work “A Precision Measurement of the Muon Decay Parameters Rho and Delta”. The thesis describes new measurements of two of the Michel parameters of muon decay: rho, which governs the shape of the overall momentum spectrum, and delta, which governs the momentum dependence of the parity-violating decay asymmetry. These results set new model-independent constraints on the possible weak interactions of right-handed particles.

Dr. MacDonald’s work was carried out within the TWIST collaboration at TRIUMF and was supervised by Arthur Olin (TRIUMF) and co-supervised by Roger Moore (University of Alberta).

Dr. MacDonald shall receive a cash award of $1000 from the DNP and will be invited to give a talk at the Winter Nuclear & Particle Physics Conference in February 2010 in Banff. The travel expenses for this will be generously covered by TRIUMF. A two page summary of Dr. MacDonald’s thesis work will appear in a later issue of Physics in Canada.

This prize was set up in 2005 by the DNP, to be awarded in Experimental or Theoretical Nuclear Physics to any student receiving their Ph.D. degree from a Canadian University in the current or prior calendar year. The selection for the 2009 Prize was adjudicated by a committee consisting of Barry Davids (representing TRIUMF and secretary/treasurer of the DNP), Juris Svenne (University of Manitoba) and Randy Lewis (Carleton University). Six theses were nominated, representing a broad variety of topics in experimental and theoretical nuclear physics. All of the theses were strong and the competition was very close. We would like to thank all of the nominees and the people who wrote letters of support for their participation in this year’s competition.