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Minister Champagne visits Canada’s particle accelerator centre

26 May 2023

On May 23, TRIUMF welcomed Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, for a comprehensive site tour of the laboratory’s world-leading, made-in-Canada research infrastructure and introductions with our community of scientists, engineers, students, and many others.  

As part of his first visit to the lab, Minister Champagne joined  Executive Director & CEO Nigel Smith for a tour, starting with an exploration of TRIUMF’s superconducting electron linear accelerator – the world’s most powerful linear accelerator for the production of rare isotopes –  and discussions with staff and students who will leverage the e-linac (and other accelerators) to triple TRIUMF’s isotope production as part of Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory (ARIEL). The technology used in the e-linac is similar to what is intended to be used for a future International Linear Collider.  

(Read more about how researchers at TRIUMF’s ARIEL facility are revolutionizing the production and study of critically-needed isotopes for science, medicine, and industry in Canada using rare isotope beams) 

Minister Champagne made a brief visit to the Driver Control Room before heading over to the world’s-largest 520 MeV cyclotron, which included a meet-and-greet with members from TRIUMF’s Proton and Neutron Irradiation Facility (PIF & NIF) team, who operate a premier, world-leading test site for space-radiation effects using protons and neutrons, and researchers from our Ultracold Neutron experiment,who are exploring one of the great mysteries in physics by making the most precise measurements ever of neutrons. 

From there, the group traversed the site to meet members from TRIUMF’s Physical Sciences Division as part of his tour through the ISAC-I an our Detector facilities, where he learned more about TRIUMF’s leadership in international subatomic physics and the role the laboratory plays in convening 21 Canadian universities and serving as the nation’s portal to international science collaborations and experiments like ATLAS and ALPHA at CERN, SNO+, and Hyper-K 

Finally, the Minister had the opportunity to enter TRIUMF’s Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI), a suite of state-of-the-art laboratory facilities that will help grow Canada’s health sciences research capacity and dramatically increase our ability to help advance isotope-based diagnostic and therapeutic treatments for a range of diseases, including cancer.  

(Learn more about how TRIUMF will soon be able to produce world-leading quantities of one cancer-killing isotope, actinium-225, in the feature short documentary The Rarest Drug on Earth) 

As part of the tour, the TRIUMF team highlighted its ambitious 20-Year Vision and our evolving programs and priorities. Also featured in the discussion with the Minister was the importance of strengthening Canada's research ecosystem, particularly in the context of our next 5-year proposal, which is expected to be released in the fall of 2023.  

On behalf of the laboratory community and the Canadians we serve, we would like to thank Minister Champagne for his time and his support for our work.

Thank you, Minister Champagne, and we hope to see you again soon!