It was announced today that Howard Burton, Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI), will be departing the organization in the near future. The search for an interim leader and long term successor will be conducted through collaboration by the Board of Directors, the Institute’s Faculty, and the preeminent Scientific Advisory Committee.
Burton has headed the Institute - fostered through the determination and overwhelming generosity of Mike Lazaridis, PI’s founder and Board Chair - since inception and achieved an impressive list of accomplishments.
In just a matter of years, since first researching how best to establish a world-class organization devoted to theoretical physics, Burton has achieved the goals which include the successful recruitment of top scientists in six key disciplines, creation of the research programs, establishment of linkages with national and international institutes, development of popular educational outreach activities and construction of an award winning research facility that is, today, a focal point for Canada’s role in basic research and scientific literacy.
Reflecting on this achievement, Burton says - "I am very proud of what I have accomplished in building Perimeter Institute - it has been exceptionally satisfying to see so much of my ambitious vision become a reality in less than eight short years since I began this journey. The chance to create a top international centre of research and outreach excellence has been a once in a lifetime opportunity to tangibly implement my passionate beliefs in the merits of pure research and scholarship; and I have particularly enjoyed the strong personal relationships I developed with so many outstanding staff and scientists the world over, many of whom are now integrally involved with PI." Burton, who is also passionate about music and literature, plans to pursue new literary projects in future.
The founder of Perimeter Institute, Mike Lazaridis, commends Burton on his many contributions - “Howard has been instrumental in helping us build a truly world class institute. He has done a remarkable job, with passion and ingenuity, in creating the very successful research operations, ground breaking outreach programs and so much more that directly enhances Canada’s role and international impact in basic science and education. He leaves an extremely strong institute and we are well positioned to move forward in the next, exciting phase of development at Perimeter. I wish Howard well in his future activities and know they will be equally successful.”
A recent review by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which examined all of the Institute’s past achievements and future plans, concluded that – “PI has been a great success on a world-wide scientific scale, for Canadian science, and for education and outreach. A number of major research achievements can be attributed directly to the existence of PI.” The independent review panel also found that – “PI’s plans for the future are excellent and the Institute appears very well prepared to move ahead with its proposed plans for the next five years.”