Nobel winner’s high praise for new Boulby lab

Professor Kajita signs in at the underground lab at Boulby.
Professor Kajita signs in at the underground lab at Boulby.

Professor Takaaki Kajita from the University of Tokyo in Japan, a 2015 Nobel Prize winner in physics, has visited the recently upgraded and expanded underground science laboratory at Boulby potash mine.

The visit came as the Professor was on a tour of the UK to meet scientists in his area of work.

He was keen to see the Boulby mine, the new underground science facilities and discuss the various science projects under way and planned at the site.

After an official greeting from mine CEO Marc Kirsten, Professor Kajita then went underground to the new lab with the local science team.

There, he saw the various studies underway including the DRIFT dark matter telescope, the SELLR' life in low background study, the BUGS gamma spectroscopy suite and more.

He was then shown the Outside Experimentation Area being built in a salt roadway just outside the new laboratory.

This is to facilitate the growing interest in using Boulby for studies of life in extreme environments on Earth and other planets, including the testing of equipment to be used on future Mars rover missions.

Professor Kajita said: “I was impressed with the underground facility and its very high standard of cleanliness.

“I think there are many things that we could learn from the Dark Matter laboratory at Boulby. It is very important to identify Dark Matter in order to give us a better understanding of our Universe.

“Therefore, in my opinion, the experiments at Boulby are very important and I hope to see closer collaboration between the Dark Matter research team and my own team at Kamioka.”

Professor Sean Paling, Director and senior scientist at the Boulby Underground Laboratory, added: “It was a great success and we were excited and inspired to be able to show Professor Kajita the work taking place here.

“There is a lot of work going on right here on the edge of the North York Moors, with plenty more that needs to be done.”