New lecture series ignites interest in academia

Professors share research projects with middle and secondary school students 

Image by: Chris Yao
Professors and members of the community gathered for the inaugural lecture.

The first talk of a new lecture series aimed to inspire high-school students to reach new academic heights was held last night.

The IGnite: Inspiring Generations through Research series is a collaboration between The Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and Queen’s University Relations. It hopes to inspire middle and high school students in the Kingston community to pursue academia. 

At each event, two speakers will give 20-minute presentations on their area of research, their contributions to the field, and their impact. The material hopes to be accessible to anyone interested in attending. 

The event also featured the Art of Research Exhibit, which includes photos of research projects.

Meanwhile, demonstrations and posters detailing undergraduate and graduate research were also displayed at the event. 

This included Derek Esau, a PhD student in chemistry at Queen’s, and his research on Platinum Surface Electrochemistry.

Another attendee, James Xie, an executive of Queen’s Space Engineering Team (QSET), presented the QSET Mars rover that competed in the 2018 University Rover Challenge in Utah. 

The participants all aimed to make research more accessible to the Kingston community, according to Mark Richardson, education and outreach officer at the McDonald Institute.

“One of the main goals was to bring the Kingston community and the research at Queen’s University together. This is an opportunity for people to think about all the really exciting research going on at the university,” Richardson said. 

“I hope that people can hear not just a sample of the demonstrations in these talks. They can hear a detailed accounting of some of the story that goes behind this research, some of the intrigue and the passion that is there behind that pursuit.”

As the first speaker, Dr. Ken Clark, a member of the MacDonald Institute, presented his lecture, “Illuminating the darkness: A quest for neutrinos and dark matter.”

In the lecture, Clark discussed his work at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Lab (SNOLAB).

 “[SNOLAB is] two kilometers underground in an active nickel mine, the project I work on there is called PICO 

which is a dark matter search experiment so I’m running a project there to try to find out what the dark matter is that’s all around us,” Clark told The Journal.

He said he hopes the young audience is inspired by his experiences and the places his research has taken him.

Alongside Clark, Dr. Jacalyn Duffin delivered the lecture, “Medical miracles: The conjunction of religion and science.” 

Duffin’s talk recounted how she investigated medical miracles for the Vatican. 

“I think that it’s very important to try to convey the excitement of doing this kind of research and also the significance, the importance of it,” Duffin said. 

She told The Journal her main focus is to explain how the humanities, especially history, are relevant to medical practices.

“Historical research invites us to look at our present practices with a certain amount of scepticism,” she said. 


The article incorrectly placed SNOLAB in Antartica. Its in Sudbury. Clark’s other topic of discussion, the IceCube project, is in Antartica. 

The Journal regrets the error


Campus events, lecture series

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