Eminent scientists and business leaders join Perimeter’s Board
In just two decades, Perimeter Institute has grown from a bold idea to a world-leading centre for theoretical physics research, training, and outreach.
Perimeter’s researchers have made landmark discoveries. The Institute’s educational outreach materials have reached millions of high school students. And its graduate and postdoctoral programs have trained more than 1,000 scientists.
“It’s amazing how far Perimeter has come,” says Board Chair Michael Serbinis. “But in a larger sense, we’re just getting started.”
Vital to Perimeter’s success is the guidance of its Board of Directors, which is made up of seven respected leaders in science, industry, and governance, including new Vice Chair Jane Kinney and new members Gabriela González and Donna Strickland.
Jane Kinney (Board Vice Chair)
With more than 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, Kinney recently retired as Vice Chair of Deloitte Canada, where she held several leadership roles. She joined Perimeter’s Board in 2019 and recently took on the role of Vice Chair.
“I see my role as helping steer Perimeter through the pandemic and whatever other challenges arise – there will always be some challenge,” says Kinney. “I’m passionate about good governance, about financial planning, about risk management, about all the other nuts and bolts that keep a complex organization thriving.”
Kinney brings a wealth of experience to the Board, as a member and leader of numerous businesses and non-profit organizations, including Intact Financial Corporation, Cenovus Energy Inc., the Women’s College Hospital Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto.
Throughout her career, Kinney has been a strong advocate of equity and diversity, and was recognized in 2014 as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. She admires the work Perimeter has done to support women in science and is passionate about creating more opportunities for traditionally under-represented groups.
A professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University, González is deeply involved with the work at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). She served as spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration from 2011 to 2017, during which LIGO found the first direct evidence of gravitational waves – a discovery that earned the collaboration the prestigious Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. González has been elected a fellow of the Institute of Physics (2004), the American Physical Society (2007), and the American Astronomical Society (2020).
She offers a unique viewpoint to the Board, with a combination of an outsider’s objectivity and a keen understanding of Perimeter’s mission and trajectory. González previously chaired Perimeter’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), an oversight panel of eminent scientists drawn from the international community, which ensures accountability and a high standard of excellence.
“Bringing more science into Perimeter’s Board is important, because the Board’s job is to promote the growth, diversity, and visibility of the Institute,” she says. “That’s difficult to do if you can’t communicate with the scientists.”
Strickland is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo, where she also leads the university’s ultrafast laser group. A self-described “laser jockey,” Strickland was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Arthur Ashkin and Gérard Mourou, for “groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.”
“The kind of science I do is a little bit different from the kind of science Perimeter does,” she says. “But there’s a level at which all science speaks the same language. We push back the boundaries of what’s possible.”
Strickland brings the viewpoint of someone with both international recognition and an intimate understanding of the research ecosystem in Waterloo Region. She has deep experience recruiting young talent, building research teams, mentoring students, and securing sustainable funding.
She’s also passionate about Perimeter’s training and outreach programs. “Part of my job has always been to impart the excitement I feel about my work to my students,” Strickland says. “I think getting people excited about science is the key to the future of science.”
Perimeter Institute Board of Directors
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.