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TRIUMF welcomes Dr. Rituparna Kanungo as next Director, Physical Sciences Division

05 June 2024

TRIUMF is pleased to announce that Dr. Rituparna Kanungo has been selected as the laboratory’s next Director of the Physical Sciences Division, starting September 2024.

“TRIUMF’s future is very bright, and I am looking forward to continuing to drive progress for the important work within the Physical Sciences Division,” said Kanungo. “There is tremendous opportunity in all areas of TRIUMF science – from excellent innovative ideas to exciting avenues for exploration and world-leading infrastructure coming online. I am eager to leverage my expertise, experience, and long history of successful collaborations at TRIUMF to support and lead the Division and its talented, hard-working community.”

As Director, Physical Sciences, Kanungo will bring leadership and oversight for a variety of TRIUMF’s scientific programs, leading the definition and execution of the Physical Science Division programming and collaborating to set the direction for TRIUMF at an important time for the laboratory. Building on TRIUMF’s recent funding success in Budget 2024, Kanungo will direct the Division’s six departments (Particle Physics, Nuclear Physics, Molecular and Materials Sciences (CMMS), Theory, Scientific Computing, and Science Technology) in advancing operational excellence; supporting TRIUMF’s broad network of researchers, students, and users; and exploring new ways to leverage TRIUMF’s world-leading infrastructure.

Kanungo is an accomplished nuclear physicist and an experienced leader, and she brings a wide range of expertise built at TRIUMF and at facilities around the world through the leadership of scientific programming and international collaborations at RIKEN in Japan, GSI in Germany, and elsewhere. Her research expertise has been recognized through several invited talks, including the honourable invitation to speak at the Nobel Symposium. She is also the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Fellowship, the American Physical Society Fellowship, the CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal Award, and the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship.

In her role as an Affiliate Scientist at TRIUMF, Kanungo has spearheaded a program investigating low-energy nuclear reactions to uncover characteristics of rare isotopes. She developed and led TRIUMF’s IRIS facility, pioneering precise measurements observing the decades-old, predicted excitation mode of halo oscillation and unlocking a sensitive way to constrain the force from the scattering diffraction pattern. Among her other endeavours, Kanungo has also shouldered project leadership of the Canadian Rare Isotope Beam (CANREB) facility, a Saint Mary’s University-led, CFI-funded project within ARIEL that will enable the production of high-purity radioactive beams for medical isotope production and other ARIEL-enabled research efforts. Prior to her selection as Director, Physical Sciences, Kanungo also served as a tenured Professor of Physics at Saint Mary’s University for over 17 years.

“It is a great privilege to welcome Dr. Kanungo into this new role,” said TRIUMF Executive Director and CEO, Nigel Smith. “She is a highly distinguished scientist and a proven leader. Her contributions will be critical for TRIUMF as we continue to shape the laboratory’s scientific programme and expand the impact of our research, including through the collaborations with our 21 member universities, and our industrial and government partners.”

TRIUMF’s Leadership Team and the wider community would like to share a sincere thank-you to Dr. Petr Navratil, who has provided leadership as the Interim Director, Physical Sciences, since August 1, 2021.