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Nigel J.T. Smith


  • Fellow
  • Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration




Nigel Smith has always been inspired and intrigued by nature, particle physics and astronomy.

He has studied astroparticle physics in extreme locations throughout his career, studying astronomical sources of ultra high-energy gamma rays using a telescope at the South Pole, searching for Galactic dark matter using detectors located 1100m underground at the Boulby facility in the UK, and subsequently overseeing dark matter and neutrinos studies 2km underground at the SNOLAB facility in Canada. In 1987 he “wintered-over” as the sole operator of the telescope at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, being the first Briton to successfully winter at the Pole itself. His work searching for dark matter has involved the development of radiation detectors that require ultra-quiet environments, including materials that are low in natural radioactivity. Techniques developed for these searches are directly transferable into the Earth 4D program, studying low levels of radio-isotopes from underground, and connecting them to the understanding of the development of the deep biosphere. As Executive Director of SNOLAB, he has overseen the development of unique facilities for these studies.


  • Member of Canadian Association of Physics, Professional Physicist
  • Fellow of the U.K. Royal Astronomical Society
  • Member of the U.K. Institute of Physics, Chartered Physicist
  • U.S. Congressional medal and winter-over bar for Antarctic duties

Relevant Publications

  • “First results from the DEAP-3600 dark matter search with argon at SNOLAB”, P.-A. Amaudruz et al., Physics Review Letters 121 7, 071801, 2018
  • “The SNOLAB deep underground facility,” N. J. T. Smith, European Physics Journal Plus, 127 108, 2012.
  • “WIMP-nucleon cross-section results from the second science run of ZEPLIN-III”, D.Yu. Akimov, et al., Physics Letters B709 14-20, 2012
  • “First limits on WIMP nuclear recoil signals in ZEPLIN-II: A two phase xenon detector for dark matter detection.’, G.J. Alner, et al., Astroparticle Physics 28 287-302, 2007.

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