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Young Faculty Receive Early Researcher Awards

Three Perimeter researchers have received Early Researcher Awards from the Ontario government.

Perimeter Faculty members Kendrick Smith and Philip Schuster, and Associate Faculty member Itay Yavin, have each received grants of $140,000 to support their highly promising research. The awards were announced on Thursday by MPP Kathryn McGarry at the University of Waterloo.

Perimeter Institute Director Neil Turok said the awards will enable fundamental inquiry that holds great potential.

“Time and again, history has shown that scientific breakthroughs advance human society,” Turok said. “Supporting foundational scientific research requires foresight and vision, but the long-term payoffs are immense. We are grateful to Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi and the Province of Ontario for recognizing Perimeter’s talented young physicists and encouraging them to pursue new breakthroughs through the Early Researcher Awards program.”

The Early Researcher Awards program helps promising young faculty members build their research teams of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants, and associates. The goal of the program is to improve Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent from around the world.

At Perimeter, the researchers honoured with ERAs are:

  • Philip Schuster, a particle physicist who co-developed ground-breaking approaches to new physics searches at the Large Hadron Collider, and spearheads new experimental searches for dark matter and forces alongside his long-time research partner Natalia Toro. In 2014, Schuster and Toro won the New Horizons in Physics Prize.
  • Kendrick Smith, a data-oriented cosmologist whose work is a mixture of theoretical physics, computational physics, statistics, and data analysis. He has been a key member of several world-leading experiments, including the WMAP and Planck satellites, which have mapped the earliest light of the universe, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), with stunning precision. He and the WMAP team earned the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize.
  • Itay Yavin, a theoretical physicist working in high-energy particle physics, whose work has focused on the interdisciplinary field of astroparticle physics, driven by the idea that the dark matter observed in astrophysical phenomena is a new fundamental particle. He was, with co-authors, the first to suggest several new signatures of dark matter that are now being searched for experimentally in different large-scale experiments. He is an associate faculty member at Perimeter and an assistant professor at McMaster University.

“Philip, Kendrick, and Itay epitomize Perimeter,” said Turok. “They are exploring some of the most basic questions in physics. They are each utterly dedicated, highly creative thinkers. Their work cuts across disciplines, questions established ideas, and focuses on uncovering the truth.”

Yavin said he was honoured to receive an ERA. “I am grateful to the government and citizens of Ontario for entrusting me with these funds and for supporting basic research into fundamental questions in physics,” he said.

– Tenille Bonoguore


About Perimeter Institute

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 


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