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Dr. Gordon Ball awarded the 2020 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal

13 November 2020

Dr. Gordon C Ball

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and TRIUMF are pleased to announce that the 2020 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal for Contributions to Subatomic Physics has been awarded to Gordon C. Ball, for fundamental contributions to low-energy tests of the Standard Model through ultra-high precision measurements of superallowed Fermi beta decays and for his leadership in the development of the ISAC science program at TRIUMF. 

Over the past two decades, Gordon Ball has led a high-impact program of superallowed Fermi beta decay studies that exploits the high-intensity, high-quality beams of rare isotopes provided by the ISAC facility at TRIUMF. He has led the development of experimental techniques that have pushed the precision frontier of the field, his group having set new world records for high precision superallowed beta decay half-life measurements on four separate occasions in the past decade. In parallel, he developed new techniques that allowed the determination of superallowed branching ratios for heavy nuclei with an order of magnitude greater precision than previously achieved. These ultra-high precision measurements by Dr. Ball and his collaborators have provided critical tests of the theoretical models required to understand the impact of the breaking of isospin symmetry in the nucleus on the superallowed Fermi beta decay transition rates and, ultimately, on the precise tests of the SM they provide. It is for his outstanding body of work in advancing the field of high-precision superallowed Fermi beta decay measurements that Dr. Ball recognized by the 2020 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal. 

Over the past five decades, Dr. Ball has also made extensive contributions to other sub-fields of subatomic physics research as an author of more than 200 primary research publications in peer-reviewed journals.  He has served the community on the NSERC Subatomic Physics Grant Selection Committee, as an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Physics, as long-standing (1992-2005) Secretary-Treasurer of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the CAP, and from 2009-2011 as Head of the TRIUMF Science Division. 

"I am truly honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal,” said Ball.  To be chosen for this award by the Canadian Subatomic Physics community is a very humbling experience. I am especially grateful to all my ISAC-science collaborators with whom I wish to share this recognition." 

The Vogt Medal, named in honour of TRIUMF director and esteemed nuclear physicist, Dr. Erich Vogt, is awarded in recognition of outstanding experimental or theoretical contributions to subatomic physics. An influential figure in Canadian physics and one of TRIUMF’s most staunch champions, Vogt was known for both his brilliance as a scientist, and his passion for teaching. The medal is a tribute to his contributions to Canadian science, connecting his legacy to those whose work continues to advance subatomic physics in Canada and around the world.   

“It is wonderful to see Gordon being recognized for his extensive cutting-edge work to push the limits of precision measurements, and through this, ultimately expand of our knowledge of the fundamental forces governing our world”, said Dr. Reiner Kruecken, TRIUMF’s Deputy DirectorResearch.   

A series of virtual plenary medal talks will be organized to honour the 2020 medal recipients. The talk schedule will be posted on the CAP's website and notification of each talk will be issued once arranged.  
(With contributions from the CAP press release)