The team behind the Canadian-based radio telescope CHIME (the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) has been awarded the fifth annual Governor General’s Innovation Award.
Announced July 14 by the Rideau Hall Foundation, these awards recognize and celebrate exceptional Canadian individuals, teams, and organizations who have “developed new or better ways of creating value and who are having a meaningful impact on our quality of life.”
Since it began taking data in 2017, CHIME has made diverse discoveries on fast radio bursts and cosmology. The Rideau Hall Foundation describes CHIME as “addressing some of the most profound questions facing contemporary astrophysics.”
Keith Vanderlinde, associate professor at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics and the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, is a co-investigator of the CHIME collaboration. He says he and his team are honoured by the recognition. “It’s exciting to work on CHIME, to be part of the team as different surveys come together and turn on,” he says. “The instrument has showed itself a revolutionary tool for studying the cosmos, and we’re thrilled to receive this award.”
The David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics Department Chair Roberto Abraham says CHIME has been a spectacular Canadian success story. “From the novel design to the huge scope of its ambitions, I think it’s the epitome of innovation. It’s already made some absolutely jaw-dropping discoveries, and I think the best is yet to come. The U of T astronomers on the team have played an incredibly important role in the project, and we’re all so proud to have them as our colleagues. It’s so wonderful to see them recognized with this very prestigious award.”
The CHIME team includes almost two dozen scientists and students from the University of Toronto, drawn from the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), along with scientists from across Canada and internationally.
The Governor General Innovation Awards are run by the Rideau Hall Foundation and the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. They choose recipients each year who are nominated from a national network of organizations that act as nominating partners.