Canada Research Chair in Radiochemistry and Environmental Health
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Ottawa
Dr. Cornett’s interdisciplinary research spans fields from risk analysis, radiochemistry, and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to the modelling of water and contaminant transport, radiation protection and health science. He has authored over 300 papers and invited presentations that are published in journals ranging from Radiation Protection Dosimetry and Atomic Spectroscopy to Science. His current research focuses on developing new analytical AMS techniques for isotopes that are very difficult to measure. He has applied these methods to date sediments, soils and rocks in the Canadian Arctic, to study the distribution of radionuclides in the environment and to estimate the rates of long term transport of pollutants.
For the InFORM project, he is overseeing the analysis of all citizen science samples that are being collected from May 2015 – present. Jack joined the InFORM project to develop new tools to analyze radionuclides in the ocean and hopes that the data collected will improve existing models of ocean circulation and our understanding of radionuclide behavior in the ocean. He hopes the public will come away from this project with a new perspective of the risks from exposure to radionuclides, how carefully scientists measure radionuclides to ensure public safety, and last, how to interpret media reporting of environmental radionuclide exposure.
Dr. Cornett became a scientist because he’s always enjoyed asking questions about the world around him. He continues his work because he is fascinated by how often the measurements are not what he would have expected and he enjoys sharing his experiences with his students and the public.
When he’s not in the lab, Jack can be found outside in every season. In the summer, he bikes the ~35 km from his home in Dunrobin to work and spends his weekends kayaking, canoeing, or hiking. In the winter, he’s often cross country skiing the Ottawa River, or downhill skiing. In the picture, he’s kayaking the Madawaska River performing a ‘pop up’ where the goal is to get the kayak and paddler out of the water. He came down right side up and didn’t even get wet!