Competition 2012-2013

The Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) of the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2012-13 DNP Thesis Prize is Paul E.J. Finlay. Dr. Finlay was awarded his Ph.D. by the University of Guelph in 2012 for the work “High-Precision Half-Life and Branching-Ratio Measurements for the Superallowed β+ Emitter 26Alm”. In this work, the branching ratio measurements were performed with the 8π Spectrometer, an array of 20 high-purity germanium detectors, in conjunction with SCEPTAR, a plastic scintillator array used to detect the emitted beta particles, whereas the half life was accessed by employing a 4π continuous-flow gas proportional counter and fast tape transport system. Combining his results with world-average Q-value measurements yields a superallowed β-decay ft value of 3037.58(60) s, the most precisely determined ft value for any superallowed emitting nucleus to date. This high-precision value provides a new benchmark to refine theoretical models of isospin-symmetry-breaking effects in superallowed Fermi β decays. Dr. Finlay was actively involved in the planning and preparation of measurements, and demonstrated leadership and innovation during the effort. His work was carried out TRIUMF-ISAC radioactive ion beam facility located in Vancouver and was supervised by Prof. Carl E. Svensson (University of Guelph).

Dr. Finlay gave an invited talk at the CAP Annual Congress in June 2014 held in Sudbury, Ontario, and also received a cash award of $1000 from the DNP. His travel expenses were generously covered by TRIUMF. A two page summary of his thesis work will appear in an issue of Physics in Canada later this year.

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 2012-13 Prize was adjudicated by a committee consisting of Reiner Kruecken (DNP Chair Elect, Science Division Head, TRIUMF), Svetlana Barkanova (Professor, Theoretical Physics, Acadia University) and Krzysztof Starosta (Associate Professor, SFU). Three theses were nominated, representing a broad variety of topics in experimental and theoretical nuclear physics. All theses were very well written providing for a healthy competition. We would like to thank all of the nominees and the persons who wrote letters of support for their participation in this year’s competition.