Decade in review: A TRIUMF-ant decade

TRIUMF is Canada’s particle accelerator, a world- class physics laboratory, medical research facility, and as of 2019, a 50-year old institution. Now used by 20 universities across the country, the centre was founded in 1968 as a joint venture between Simon Fraser University, UBC and the University of Victoria.

TRIUMF has a long history of enthralling everyone from science students to prime ministers. When Pierre Trudeau commissioned a type of particle accelerator called a cyclotron for the centre in 1976, the then-prime minister quipped: “I don’t really know what a cyclotron is, but I am certainly very happy Canada has one.”

Over the past 10 years, The Ubyssey has reported on the centre’s major milestone and expansions.

In 2018, The Ubyssey covered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of a future dedicated nuclear medicine building on the TRIUMF campus, and the federal government’s $10-million contribution to the project. The Institute of Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI) will be dedicated to research in nuclear medicine, cancer therapies and producing elements that can be used in medical imaging and cancer diagnosis.

Also in 2018, The Ubyssey reported on an open house for IAMI. The facility will be almost 3,400 square metres in size, expand TRIUMF’s lab and office space and will feature a new cyclotron. In the article, project manager Anil Vargis slated the centre’s construction for the end of 2020.

In early 2019, The Ubyssey also covered TRIUMF’s 50th anniversary events from the previous year — to mark the occasion, the centre granted the public unprecedented access to see its facilities.

The article featured an interview with Dr. Jens Dilling, associate lab director of physical science and an adjunct professor of physics at UBC.

Dilling described the culture of research at TRIUMF as “bottom-up” instead of “top-down,” and this distinct academic approach helps to make the centre a place of groundbreaking discoveries.

The article also touched on funding, what Dilling considers one of TRIUMF’s big challenges, as the centre relies on contributions from the federal government, and what motivates him every day: its unique spirit. “We have a tribe,” Dilling said.

TRIUMF is an ever-expanding centre for nuclear medicine research, materials science, isotope production and many other things. For more information take a look at The Ubyssey’s science section and keep reading as the newspaper covers its ongoing expansion in the coming years.