Investing to expand space-time research

Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute (PI), which is recognized internationally for its leadership in theoretical physics research, has announced plans for major expansion to fuel ongoing contributions to the scientific community.

The institute’s 10th anniversary presentation, held on Oct. 17, featured key PI figures including founder and board chair Mike Lazaridis and institute director Neil Turok, who discussed past and present success and the institute’s vision for continued research excellence through the facility’s expansion.

The event was part of PI’s Quantum to Cosmos Festival, which consisted of a series of lectures, panel discussions and film screenings recognizing the institute’s accomplishments in the past decade.

The new wing, which is already under construction and scheduled for completion in 2015, will double the institute’s current physical size, providing great research opportunities for both resident scientists and visiting international researchers.

The institute already invites hundreds of researchers from around the world each year to study in Waterloo; this capacity will be enhanced with the 55,000 square foot increase in available research space, tripling the number of researchers.

Turok proudly revealed the title of the new wing, saying, “Stephen Hawking has lent his name to this expansion, so it will be called the Stephen Hawking Centre at Perimeter Institute.”

Hawking, a world renowned physicist, emeritus lucasian professor at Cambridge University and PI distinguished research chair, has also announced that he will be travelling to Waterloo next summer to spend a month studying at the Perimeter Institute, a visit that the facility is greatly anticipating.

Turok also discussed funding for the project. “We’ve set a very ambitious target,” he said. “We want to raise $400 million dollars in a combined public private partnership, just as Perimeter originally was funded over the last decade.”

Turok confirmed that $35 million has successfully been raised. The federal and provincial governments have each contributed $10 million to the expansion, and $15 million has come from a private donor. An additional $28 million has been donated to support long term research.

The federal government’s funding of scientific endeavours, according to the honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State, Science and Technology, has reached a historical figure, offering great support to PI and other research facilities.

“We want, too, to make this the epicentre of science as a focal point,” stated Goodyear.
“Literally positioning us here at the Perimeter Institute for the next great breakthrough, the next world changing discovery.”

PI facts

-Founded summer of 1999 by Mike Lazaridis, founder and Co-CEO of Research In Motion

-Operations began in 2001

-Today it includes over 60 resident researchers who are involved in day-to-day operations

-PI’s Visitor Program hosts hundreds of international researchers for collaborations and workshops

-Funded by philanthropic donations and funding from many levels and branches of the Canadian government

Theoretical physics at Perimeter

-Theoretical physics is the study of time, space and matter through mathematics and science

-Research at Perimeter is aimed to answer fundamental questions about the universe

-PI’s extensive work in space-time research and quantum theory distinguishes them as an important player in the world’s development of scientific knowledge

-The institute’s expansion will broaden PI’s scope of research to include topics such as particle physics and cosmology