Dr. Miriam Diamond awarded a 2020 Polanyi Prize

December 15, 2020 — Astrophysics News

Dr. Miriam Diamond, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, faculty at the McDonald Institute, and a collaborator on the SuperCDMS experiment at SNOLAB, was among the recipients of the 2020 Polanyi Prizes.   

These prestigious prizes are awarded in honour of Ontario’s Nobel Prize winner John C. Polanyi, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research in chemical kinetics. The Polyani Prizes are awarded to innovative post-doctoral or recently-appointed faculty researchers in the fields of chemistry, literature, physics, economic science, and physiology or medicine.   

“Congratulations to all the John C. Polanyi award winners. It is fantastic to see this recognition of their leadership of innovative research happening within Ontario universities. And many congratulations to Miriam Diamond who works on the SuperCDMS experiment hosted here at SNOLAB,” said Dr. Nigel Smith, Executive director of SNOLAB.   

Dr. Diamond’s research focuses on the search for dark matter, which comprises about 85 percent of the matter in the universe. However, as of yet, dark matter has not been directly detected; scientists have only observed its gravitational effects. Discovering these particles would open up research into completely unknown particles and would be of fundamental importance to cosmology, astrophysics, and particle physics.   

“To realize that all our advances in science and technology have been achieved with a model that explains, with extraordinary precision, the fundamental composition of just 5% of the universe,” said Dr. Diamond at the virtual award ceremony upon receiving her prize. “To imagine what more we have the potential to achieve if we can unlock the rest, and to be so bold as to chase that opportunity — that is the ultimate expression of hope for the future of our civilization.”  

SuperCDMS is a dark matter direct detection experiment hosted at SNOLAB. SuperCDMS uses silicon and germanium crystals, cryogenically cooled to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. The experiment is equipped with sensors to detect vibrations from miniscule deposits of energy caused by particle interactions.   

“Dr. Diamond’s research into dark matter will further our understanding of the bulk to the universe,” Smith explained. “It is great to see her success in creating a new research team at Toronto and leadership in this international collaboration being recognized. Congratulations!” 
Read the full story about the 2020 Polanyi Prize winners here.

For more information contact:
Blaire Flynn
Education and Outreach Officer, SNOLAB