Media room

In conversation with Nobel Prize laureate Art McDonald

The Nobel Prize and Canadian research excellence


How did it feel to receive the Nobel Prize?

Well, it’s still – I’m still attempting to react to it.

Life has changed tremendously.

But I also hope that this award will be a recognition of the fact that Canada is a place where you can do research of that quality.

We certainly as scientists recognized, when we obtained our results back in 2002, that we had made a very significant measurement in terms of our understanding of very basic particles, neutrinos, and how they fit into – or in fact they don’t fit into the standard model; it has to be changed.

So we were satisfied we had done something significant.

But being recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee is another dimension altogether.

So all of us in this whole collaboration just feel fantastic about this event having occurred.

So it’s exhilarating.

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University facts

  • $35B

    As a $35 billion enterprise in direct expenditures, universities are significant drivers of economic prosperity. They provide employment for close to 250,000 people.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Financial Information of Universities and Colleges Survey and Labour Force Survey, 2014.
  • 1.7M
    students at Canadian universities in 2014-2015

    There were 979,000 full-time students and 312,000 part-time students in 2014-2015.

    Source: Association of Atlantic Universities, Council of Ontario Universities and individual institutions.
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    new jobs

    Between June 2008 and June 2015, about twice as many net new jobs were created for university graduates than for college and trades graduates combined.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2008-2015.

Presidents' perspective

Demand for liberal arts graduates


People criticize the liberal arts because they think … our graduates aren’t employable.

But in fact, in 2008, when the economic difficulties struck, the people who were employed in Canada were 95 percent of engineering graduates, 94 percent of health profession graduates and 91 percent of liberal arts graduates, social science and humanities graduates.

And if you ask employers about the skills they want, they want exactly those skills which the liberal arts provide.

They teach student to think critically and creatively, to weigh evidence sceptically, to look at more than one perspective or one side of every question.

The late Steve Jobs said, you know, when he unveiled the last piece of technology before he passed, he said that it’s not technology alone, but technology married with the liberal arts that produces the results that makes our hearts sing.

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