Young physicists from around the world connect at TRISEP 2021

July 09, 2021 — Events

TRISEP 2021 was hosted virtually by SNOLAB from June 14-25. TRISEP, the Tri-Institute Summer School on Elementary Particles, is a joint venture between SNOLAB, the Perimeter Institute, and TRIUMF with the host institution rotating each year. TRISEP is an international summer school intended for graduate students of all levels who have taken an advanced quantum mechanics class and an introductory particle physics class.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic TRISEP 2020 was postponed to 2021, and SNOLAB had to adapt the two-week school to a virtual format for the first time in its history. Rather than trying to shift the typical program to an online platform, the intent was to create a high-quality school designed for virtual delivery. Said Dr. Erica Caden, Co-Chair of the local organizing committee, “while challenging to adapt a rigorous school into an online format, we were able to gather a passionate group of lecturers and an engaged group of students from around the world to learn about astroparticle physics.” 

A map showing where TRISEP 2021 participants are from – each flag in the border represents one student.

The online format was more accessible as there was no need for participants to travel to Sudbury and therefore no cost to attendees. TRISEP 2021 was the most international school to date, with 81 participants coming from 18 countries. One participant reflected that, “in future, the school organizers should consider keeping the online participation, this will give to more international students the opportunity to attend and will enrich the exchange of the young physicist community.”  

Lectures were delivered via Zoom and Gather.Town was used to facilitate social interactions and events and group work in breakout rooms set up with white boards. In addition to the lectures, there was a virtual game night, a group dinner in Gather.Town, and a colloquium open to the larger Canadian physics community. One component of each school is a group project that students must work on. Projects this year included such topics as building a neutrino detector in space, finding a way to measure the cosmic neutrino background, finding WIMPs below the neutrino floor, and designing a muon collider. 

The TRISEP Gather space during the virtual group dinner.