You are here

The Cyclotron's 40th Anniversary

09 February 2016

TRIUMF is celebrating four decades of discovery enabled by the world’s largest cyclotron – a particle accelerator driving cutting-edge science with tangible impacts on our daily lives. Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan joined TRIUMF’s anniversary celebration and highlighted how the national laboratory continues to advance world-class science and engineering for the benefit of Canada.

Forty years ago on February 9, 1976, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau officially commissioned TRIUMF’s 520 MeV cyclotron – the heart of Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and accelerator-based science."I don't really know what a cyclotron is, but I am certainly very happy Canada has one!" said the then Prime Minister on the occasion.

After four decades of accelerating discovery for Canada, TRIUMF’s workhorse cyclotron has a capacity never before imagined thanks to its continually upgraded controls and electronics.

40th Anniversary of Commissioning of the Cyclotron from TRIUMFLab on Vimeo.

Dr. Steven Liss, Chair, TRIUMF Board of Management and Vice-Principal (Research), Queen’s University, said "While Canadians expected TRIUMF to be a success forty years ago when the cyclotron was first commissioned, no one could have predicted how the lab would grow and flourish over time. Not only has TRIUMF embedded itself in Canada’s science innovation economy, it has enabled us to come together as a country to reach beyond our borders as a global beacon and engine of discovery.”

This feat of Canadian ingenuity has empowered the national centre to continue to further the frontiers of research into the structure and origin of matter, as well as materials and medical science. While the 520 MeV cyclotron perseveres as the backbone of TRIUMF, today’s celebration provided opportunity to look to the future with the Advanced Rare IsotopE Laboratory (ARIEL), TRIUMF’s new flagship facility that will triple the laboratory’s capabilities for producing beams of rare isotopes.

During the event, Minister Duncan highlighted TRIUMF’s many achievements since the cyclotron’s commissioning. From the search for the Higgs boson and the discovery of neutrino flavours recently honoured with the Nobel Prize, to improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, dementia, and cardiac disease with advances in nuclear medicine, TRIUMF has helped Canada partner with the global scientific community on some of the greatest discoveries in human history.

“TRIUMF is truly a mecca for Canadian and international researchers in the fields of particle and nuclear physics, molecular and materials science, and nuclear medicine," said Minister Duncan. "Thanks to TRIUMF’s ambitious international partnerships, Canadian researchers have been at the centre of some of the most important global research projects.”

–Taken from a TRIUMF press release

Celebrating Decades of Discovery