2020 Governor General’s Innovation Award Laureate
About the Innovation:
We have entered what scientists call “the CHIME Epoch” referring to a project called the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, designed to measure the expansion history of our universe and to map the cosmic distribution of fast radio bursts within it and to track radio pulsars. Conceived, funded, and built by Canadians, CHIME represents an innovative technological achievement as well as a major scientific undertaking that addresses some of the most profound questions facing contemporary astrophysics.
About the innovator:
CHIME was designed, built and is operated by a collaborative group of cosmologists, high-energy astrophysicists, engineers and programmers, including many students. The CHIME team, led by physicists at UBC, McGill, U of T and the National Research Council’s (NRC) Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), continues the tradition that cosmology instruments are built by the scientists who use them, and in doing so, trains the next generation of researchers. The team designed a 1-hectare radio telescope to scan the entire northern sky with no moving parts. The team also designed custom high speed electronics to capture the radio signals and programmed a network consisting literally of five truckloads of computers to sift through the avalanche of data which CHIME produces. As a team, they operate CHIME around the clock.