Nova Scotia

Arthur McDonald's mother proud of Nobel Prize-winning son

Valerie McDonald is a proud mother. The 92-year-old woman, who lives in Dartmouth, learned on Tuesday her son had won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

'He's happy with his achievements and I am too,' Valerie McDonald says

Arthur McDonald's mom proud of his Nobel Prize

8 years ago
Duration 4:33
Valerie McDonald talks about her Nobel-winning son, Arthur - a good Cape Breton boy.

Valerie McDonald is a proud mother. The 92-year-old woman, who lives in Dartmouth, learned on Tuesday her son, Arthur McDonald, won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

"You don't achieve things like this without a lot of hard work," Valerie McDonald said during an interview with CBC News. "It wasn't for the accolades. He loved science."

Arthur McDonald, a Cape Breton-born professor emeritus at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., shares the prize with Takaaki Kajita for their research into tiny particles known as neutrinos.

Arthur McDonald, a professor emeritus at Queen's University, is shown at the university in Kingston, Ont. on Tuesday. McDonald is a co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on tiny particles known as neutrinos. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Valerie McDonald said she found out about her son's Nobel win after a friend from Sydney called her Tuesday as she was just getting out of bed.

"He's happy with his achievements, and I am too," McDonald said. "It means a lot to me."

Curious from the start

McDonald says her son was a happy kid growing up who loved to fish. But she says he loved science even more.

"I remember we had a clock, one of those Big Bens on the window ledge and he couldn't get his eyes off that clock because it was ticking," she says. "He was only maybe a year-and-a-half or two years old." 

McDonald thinks even at that young age, he was trying to figure out how the clock worked.

"I put it down in front of him and he was so excited. He loved that clock. He wouldn't give it up," she says.

Cape Breton boy at heart

When she finally spoke with her son about the Nobel Prize, she told him all the work he's done over the years has been worth it.

"I told him, Arthur dear, I love you very much and you worked hard all your life and not for all the honours of it, but for the science."

McDonald says her son had a lot of love and support from family and the community while he was growing up in Sydney. She believes her son, a Cape Breton boy at heart, will remain humble.

"His feet will be on the ground. I never ever heard him bragging about anything."