After 12 years of successful leadership at SNOLAB, Dr. Nigel Smith has stepped down from his role as Executive Director of the facility effective May 14th to take on the position of Director at TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator center. In this role he will continue working to raise the profile of physics in Canada and championing collaborative cutting edge research.
“The Board would like to express its deep appreciation to Dr. Smith for his outstanding leadership of SNOLAB over the past 12 years,” said Kim Strong, SNOLAB Board Chair. “He was an immensely effective Executive Director who strengthened all aspects of SNOLAB operations, and expanded and supported a diverse suite of scientific programs. Canada is lucky to now have Dr. Smith as Director of TRIUMF. We wish him great success in his new position!”
While the Board embarks on a search to fill the Executive Director position in the long term, they have appointed Dr. Clarence Virtue to the position of Interim Executive Director of SNOLAB, effective May 1st, 2021. “The SNOLAB Institute Board of Directors is delighted that Dr. Virtue has agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director of SNOLAB,” said Strong. “He is a highly regarded scientist who brings a wealth of experience in experimental and particle physics to this position, having been involved with SNO and SNOLAB for almost two decades, and having worked at TRIUMF, Chalk River, NRC, and CERN. His expertise and skills are ideally suited to this role, and we are pleased to have Dr. Virtue’s steady hand at the helm, to guide SNOLAB through this period of transition.”
Virtue is an experimental physicist with a long history at SNOLAB. He spent his early career working on the OPAL detector at CERN’s Large Electron Positron collider before returning to Canada when work on the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) as it was beginning in 1992. This led to a long involvement with the SNO experiment, its successor experiment SNO+, and with the Helium and Lead Observatory (HALO). Clarence has concentrated his work on the detection of supernova neutrinos and has been a collaborator in the SuperNova Early Warning System (SNEWS) since 2004.
“It’s a pleasure to take on the responsibilities of this new position,” said Virtue. “SNOLAB and Particle Astrophysics in Canada are amazing Canadian success stories that I’ve been so proud to be a part of for many years. I’m looking forward to contributing to SNOLAB’s future during my tenure.”