Jacques Farine

Jacques Farine

Full Professor

Department of Physics
Science, Engineering and Architecture
F-526A, Science Building Sudbury Campus


After graduating from ETH Zürich, Switzerland, I turned to neutrino physics and obtained a PhD from Neuchâtel University. In 1997 I received a Young Researcher Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation to move to Canada and work on the SNO project, then in construction. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Carleton University, Ottawa, I was appointed assistant professor at Laurentian University in 2001. This was a very exciting year with the first SNO results! My contributions to SNO focused on the monitoring of ultralow levels of radoactivity in the water systems. I also led SNO's Low Energy Backgrounds Analysis Group. I have since pushed the sensitivity of the radon detectors used for SNO to support new initiatives with more stringent background requirements.

In 2001 I joined a group to apply for funding from CFI for SNOLAB as an International Facility for Underground Science. I was actively involved in the design of the surface building at (now Vale's) Creighton mine.

I joined the Enriched Xenon Observatory Collaboration (EXO) in 2004. EXO is aiming at an absolute measurement of the neutrino mass scale with the discovery of neutrinoless double-beta decay of 136Xe -- if the transition exists. In June 2012 we published our first results and have since the best world limit on the effective neutrino mass. With this analysis, we have also essentially ruled out an earlier claim for discovery in 76Ge. This is also the slowest transition rate excluded by direct counting, corresponding to a half-life of 1.6E25 years. My contributions to EXO include the calibration system, radon mitigation and radon production assessments.

Since 2006 I contribute to the direct search for dark matter with PICASSO. My interests, like in SNO and EXO are with the understanding and improvement of backgrounds. Since 2007 I am also a collaborator of HALO, a SNOLAB based detector of supernova neutrinos.

An avid caver, I have published frequently in spelunking journals and coordinate the survey of the Motiers Cave near Neuchâtel, Switzerland -- now the longest in the canton.


  • Dipl. Exp. Phys. (ETHZ) 1990
  • Ph.D. Exp. Phys. (Neuchâtel) 1996

On The Web



My research interests are in neutrino physics and the search for dark matter with a focus on low background techniques. I am very excited about the potential for discovery of neutrinoless double beta decay by EXO, the direct observation of dark matter using superheated liquids with PICASSO, and the live detection of supernova neutrinos with HALO.


  • Inaugural NSERC John C. Polanyi Award 2006. Co-recipient with SNO team
  • ORION Discovery Award 2006. Co-recipient with SNO team
  • Thomas Bitterli Award 2005. Co-recipient with 4 other. Scientific Commission of the Swiss Speleological Society. Distinguishes remarkable articles of a scientific nature in spelunking