Dr. Chris Jillings

Research Scientist

Chris completed his PhD in physics at Queen’s University, studying the electron scattering reaction in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory under the supervision of Professor Art McDonald.

At SNOLAB, Chris works on the DEAP-3600 experiment doing data analysis, particularly with respect to low-level calibration, energy response, and backgrounds. He works on SNO+ building and operating hardware components. He also supervises postdoctoral fellows and students. As manager of the scientific support team he manages the scientists and technologists on the team, and makes sure collaborations that need their support can access it.

How would you explain your work in simple terms?

“I try to answer big questions about the universe. What is the universe made of? We have a model of the universe which nicely explains the history of all we can see in the universe, but this model implies that 95% of the universe is invisible. About 25% of the universe is so-called dark matter, which shows itself by its gravitational pull but is invisible to telescopes. I am working on the DEAP-3600 experiment to look for this dark matter.

Why is there any matter in the universe at all? If matter and anti-matter are completely symmetric, they should have cancelled each other out in the early universe and we would be left with only photons and neutrinos. Beautiful experiments at accelerators have shown that there is a small asymmetry between matter and anti-matter, but that only accounts for 20% of the matter we have. Neutrinos are a potential answer – neutrino interactions with matter may tip the scales in favour of matter over anti-matter and this difference could be why anything exists.”

Why did you choose physics?

“I wanted to know how stuff works. In grade 12 I saw there was a class at McGill, “General Relativity, Physics 514B” and I thought I would understand the universe from that. Well, that class told me the universe is perhaps harder to understand than I thought. But it does give up its secrets through careful repeated observation and theorizing,”

What is something that might surprise people about you?

“I curl well and am a junior coach at my club. If I could do another job for a year I would like to work in the analytics department of a Major League Baseball team.” 



Contact details
(705) 692-7000 x 2266