Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) has named McMaster University's John Berlinsky as its Academic Program Director. Perimeter is an independent research institute, located in Waterloo, which was founded in 1999 with the help of a $100 million donation from Michael Lazaridis, co-CEO of Research in Motion.
John Berlinsky is currently a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster, vice president of the Faculty Association and a member of McMaster's Board of Governors. He will continue to serve on the Board and as vice president (and next year's president) of the Faculty Association, while being seconded three days a week to Perimeter.
In his new role, Berlinsky will put his academic and research experience to work, managing Perimeter's advanced undergraduate and graduate courses, and will be responsible for developing educational partnerships with other Canadian and international institutions.
Berlinsky's first major task at Perimeter will be starting up and directing the new Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) program - a one-year graduate course for exceptional students taught by outstanding international lecturers. The students will take classes at PSI for 10 months and earn a master's degree in physics from the University of Waterloo. PSI is in the midst of identifying and recruiting 25 of the world's top undergraduate physics students for this program. This admission number will eventually grow to 50 in time.
"In addition to choosing the students for PSI, we will be setting up housing, creating teaching space, and preparing a curriculum of 27 modular short courses, all of which must be in place by mid-August" said Berlinsky. He is particularly excited about working with Perimeter's new director, Neil Turok, a cosmologist who moved to PI last October from Cambridge University and who is also the founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
Berlinsky's personal goal as director is to retain talented PSI students in Canada. "If PSI can recruit top physics students from around the world and Canadian universities can attract them into PhD programs, Canada's intellectual capital and its strength in theoretical physics will be greatly enhanced."
Previously, Berlinsky has been director of the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research and later chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster. He has been an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and has received the Rutherford Prize in Physics from the Royal Society of Canada in 1987. He is an associate of the Quantum Materials Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and a fellow of the American Physical Society.