Sudbury’s 2km deep Neutrino Observatory is so cool world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking came to visit in 1998

Sudbury Neutrino Observatory © Lucy Izon

Sudbury Neutrino Observatory © Lucy Izon

Sudbury, Ontario – Two kilometres beneath the surface of the earth, just 10 km from downtown Sudbury, scientists set up a 10-storey observatory to study Neutrinos – the smallest particles in the universe.

Billions of these particles, which are given off by the sun, pass right through our bodies and the earth every second. Scientists used this former mine shaft because they need an environment protected from light for the study. The observatory’s elevator descends so deep the surrounding rock averages 47 degrees. A special rail car was built to shuttle the world-famous, physically disabled physicist Stephen Hawking down for a visit.

Although the observatory is not open to the public, you can learn more and see the special elevator car built for Hawking, at Sudbury’s Science North, a museum that is so cool it was designed in the shape of a snowflake.

Sudbury, which is about a five-hour drive north of Toronto, is located in the Sudbury Basin – the second largest known meteor impact crater on earth. Sub-surface there are so many tunnels that placed end-to-end you could drive underground all the way to Vancouver. Look for the ‘Big Nickel’ (so big it could actually hold 64 million nickels) where you’ll find the seven-story Dynamic Earth geosciences museum.

The city has two art galleries, two theatre companies, a symphony and annual September film festival. For outdoor lovers there are 330 lakes in the Sudbury region, and Killarney Provincial Park (so beautiful it’s preservation was achieved by artists) is just over an hour southwest of the city on the north shore of Georgian Bay.

In The News: Although the neutrino detector has been turned off the data collected continues to be analyzed.


Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, Creighton Mine, Lively, Ontario


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