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“We Have Photons!”

by Gary Megaffin

The Kitchener Knights of Columbus is losing a dedicated and well-respected member of Council 1504. Returning to his hometown, Brother Chris Pugh has accepted a teaching position for one year at Brandon University starting September 1st. Chris was born in Brandon, Manitoba and completed a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Physics and minors in Math and Computer Science at Brandon University. He recently completed his PhD in Physics, Quantum Information, at the University of Waterloo performing an exciting demonstration.

By his own admission, Chris says a commercial flight can make him a bit queasy. But in his PhD quest, on a clear night last September, he was strapped into a Twin Otter with its side door removed so he could monitor a telescope that was pointed down toward the darkened Eastern Ontario rural landscape. Too busy to be scared, he hoped it would capture particles of laser light called photons fired up at the plane. The experiment worked beautifully, colleagues operating the laser from an airstrip near Smiths Falls, heard Chris’ excited cry of “We have photons!” over an air-to-ground radio. Success!

The achievements obtained by Chris Pugh are just a prelude to what the future holds for the dedicated Fourth Degree member of the Kitchener Knights of Columbus, Council 1504 and a past Faithful Navigator of the Father Funcken Assembly. He will remain at the University for one year before potentially entering the seminary. Chris came to Council 1504 a few years back and has made an indelible mark with his unique and diverse contributions that remain today and will continue to be part of the Kitchener K of C. It can be said; the membership is proud to know Brother Chris wishing him Godspeed and we’re looking forward to his return visit as Father Chris Pugh.

Brother Chris Pugh, right, and Jeongwan Jin of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing are preparing for their attempt to capture information beamed from Earth. A telescope mounted in the Twin Otter aircraft allows Chris to receive photons from a laser. If they are successful, Chris will have completed his Masters of Science in Physics.

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