Canada-México Student Partnership Forged at SNOLAB

August 30, 2016 — Facility Updates

Sudbury, ON  SNOLAB becomes the first underground laboratory to join the Mexican education programme, Scientific Summers in Foreign Laboratories.  Additionally, it is their first Canadian partnership.  This prestigious programme is organized by the Division of Particles and Fields of the Mexican Physical Society (DPF-MPS) with the goal of identifying promising particle physics students and providing them with the opportunity to be involved in leading-edge research projects at international labs.

Guillermo Lara, a Physics student with the Faculty of Science at the National Autonomous University of México, was selected to participate in this exciting new summer placement at SNOLAB located 2km underground in Creighton Mine, Sudbury, ON.  He arrived in Sudbury in June but before arranging any travel plans, he had to apply to the programme and go through a rigorous selection process.  The summer programme is advertised through educational institutions across México and applicants are first assessed on academic performance.  The top 30 students that apply are selected to attend a series of hands-on laboratory courses in various topics in experimental high energy physics.  Students are evaluated and the top ten move on to final interviews.  From the final interviews, students are selected for summer positions in the partnering foreign laboratories.

For nearly two months Guillermo worked at SNOLAB with the PICO collaboration; PICO is a bubble chamber experiment that uses super heated fluid to search for dark matter particles. He described his summer experience as invaluable and exciting. “I feel very grateful for the opportunity to work alongside and learn form the very passionate scientists, staff and students that make all of this possible”, said Guillermo. During his summer placement, Guillermo was also involved in simulations for the SNO+ collaboration; a neutrino experiment at SNOLAB.  While onsite, he has been working under the direct supervision of Dr. Ian Lawson, a research scientist at SNOLAB and Dr. Eric Vázquez-Jáuregui, a research associate at the Institute of Physics at the National Autonomous University of México, a member of DPF-MPS and researcher with the PICO collaboration.  “There are many enthusiastic young students in México, eager to learn about experimental neutrino physics and dark matter.”  says Dr. Vázquez-Jáuregui.  “I am thankful to Dr. Nigel Smith, SNOLAB Director and to SNOLAB for supporting our country and giving our students the opportunity to get involved in leading experiments in this world class laboratory.”

SNOLAB is happy to be part of this important student initiative that provides valuable experience to students.  “It has been a great pleasure to host Guillermo at SNOLAB over the summer as part of the DPF-MPS Scientific Summers in Foreign Laboratories programme.” exclaimed SNOLAB Director Nigel Smith.  “SNOLAB is delighted to be able to participate in this prestigious programme, and to strengthen the connections between the Canadian and Mexican research and education communities. We wish Guillermo all the best success as he continues his career, and we hope to see him back at SNOLAB in the future!”  Since the Scientific Summers in Foreign Laboratoriesprogramme’s start in the early 1990’s, over 100 students have gained valuable experience during summer placements in notable labs such as Fermilab, CERN, DESY, Jefferson Lab, Berkley Lab and most recently, SNOLAB.  

To learn more about the Scientific Summers in Foreign Laboratories programme please visit their website at:

For more information contact:
Blaire Flynn
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Phone: (705) 692 7000 ext. 2806