Dr. Christine Kraus

Research Scientist

Christine completed her PhD in 2004 at Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz (Germany), focusing on the final measurements of the Mainz Neutrinos Mass Experiment. This experiment set the best limit on neutrino mass for about 10 years. Following her PhD, she did a postdoc at Queen’s University working on the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory experiment. Christine then came to SNOLAB as a research scientist working on SNO+ before moving to Laurentian University where she earned a Canada Research Chair Tier II in particle astrophysics.

Christine’s main research focus is the SNO+ experiment, a multi-purpose neutrino detector. She is the site activity coordinator for the collaboration, which means she is responsible for supervising visiting scientists and ensuring that work on the experiment is done correctly and in order. Right now, the main goal for SNO+ is to complete the calibration hardware for the scintillator phase so that calibration sources can be inserted into the inner detector volume. Christine is also a member of the HALO collaboration and sees the value in complementary data coming from two experiments in the same location capable of detecting supernova neutrinos.

How would you describe your work in simple terms?

“As a research scientist I get to do what I love: answering fundamental questions about how the world works and what holds the Universe together. To do this we build large detectors that allow us to see traces of particles coming through, which appear as flashes of light. I am one of the people going 2 km deep underground to understand how the sun works.”

What does a typical day look like for you?

“A typical might involve going underground, analysis of data, or building and commissioning parts of the detector depending on the day and what SNO+ needs at a given time. There will also be meetings with students and team members. I especially enjoy mentoring and supervising students and then getting to see them learn, grow, and succeed.”

Why did you choose physics?

“From a young age I was always curious about things. I took long walks with my grandfather through the woods, learning what nature had to offer. I drove my mother crazy by always asking questions. Physics asks questions, and when we answer one there are always more questions to ask – digging deeper and deeper as we build our knowledge. Learning new things is very exciting to me.”

Curriculum vitae