Mark Chen specializes in astroparticle physics. Cosmologists know that particle properties deeply influence the evolution of the Universe: from the time of inflation, through Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the formation of large-scale structure, to the present day.
Unraveling the nature of fundamental particle physics (beyond the Standard Model) and understanding their impact and implications on the cosmos is the focus of Chen's research. Chen was a member of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Collaboration that built a large neutrino detector 2 km underground in an active nickel mine near Sudbury, Ontario. SNO discovered that solar neutrinos oscillate and solved the 30-year "Solar Neutrino Problem" by observing that solar neutrinos change flavour en route from the core of the Sun, where they are produced, to experiments on Earth where they are detected. The discovery of neutrino mass and oscillations was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics (to A. McDonald and T. Kajita).
Chen is now the Director of SNO+, the follow-up experiment to the original SNO. SNO+ seeks to determine if neutrinos are their own antiparticle or not. An observation of the Majorana nature of neutrinos would shed light on the origin of neutrino mass and the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry in our Universe. Chen is also involved in searches for particle dark matter (direct detection) and researching new techniques for detecting different dark matter candidates.
NSERC John C. Polanyi Award, 2006
Premier’s Research Excellence Award, 2003
John S. Stemple Memorial Prize in Physics, 1993
Aharmim, B. et al. "Combined Analysis of all Three Phases of Solar Neutrino Data from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory." Phys. Rev. C 88 (August 2013): 025501.
Chen, M.C. "Geoneutrino Detection." In Treatise on Geochemistry, edited by H.D. Holland and K.K. Turekian, 443–53. Vol. 15. 2nd ed. Elsevier, 2014.