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Very rubin observatory, Credit: Rubin Obs/NSF/AURA

Luke Santi Award winner driven by passions for people, physics, and fresh powder

account_circle By Colin Hunter
Miles Cranmer, a first-year physics student at McGill University, has earned Perimeter’s 2014 Luke Santi Memorial Award in recognition of his achievements in the classroom, in the lab, and in his community.

Whether swooshing down a ski slope or tuning lasers in a quantum computing research lab, it’s all physics to Miles Cranmer.

In fact, he recently got a painful reminder of the physics law that every action (a skiing wipeout) has an equal and opposite reaction (a broken rib). 

So for now, he’s happily sticking mostly to theoretical physics, and doing exceptionally well at it. 

Cranmer, a first-year physics student at McGill University, is the 2014 recipient of the Luke Santi Memorial Award for Student Achievement, presented annually to a Canadian postsecondary student whose passion for science is matched by a well-rounded commitment to volunteerism and community involvement

“I’m really, really interested in relativity right now,” said 18-year-old Cranmer, a native of Guelph, Ontario. “You can feel your brain stretching when you study it. I love that feeling.”

Cranmer was presented with the Luke Santi Memorial Award in front of a packed theatre at Perimeter Institute, moments before a public lecture by Perimeter Faculty member Kendrick Smith.

Miles Cranmer receiving the Luke Santi Memorial Award from Perimeter Director of Educational Outreach Greg Dick.
Miles Cranmer (right) receives the Luke Santi Memorial Award from Perimeter Director of Educational Outreach Greg Dick.

It was a poignant moment for Cranmer, who remembers coming to a science festival at Perimeter as a child, where he first heard of the concept of infinity. He pestered his parents on the drive home that day to explain “how much” infinity is. 

While still a high school student in Kitchener (with a straight-A average, which earned him the Governor General’s Academic Medal), he worked as a research assistant at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, helping with laser-based experiments in quantum communications. Throughout, he still found time to volunteer at local music festivals and elections, and work as a ski instructor, among other pursuits.

This summer, he’ll work with a McGill astrophysics professor to analyze telescope data to characterize a neutron star. 

Cranmer’s boundless energy and passion for physics exemplifies the qualities of the award’s namesake. Luke Santi was an exceptional high school student who loved science and devoted much of his spare time to extracurricular activities and volunteer work. 

“This award is an honour because it’s an indication that I’m on the right path while doing something I love,” Cranmer said. “I don’t know exactly what I’ll do for a career, but I know it will involve physics.”


Established and funded by Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, this award is presented annually in memory of Luke Santi, who as a high school student demonstrated a passion for research and discovery, earned top marks in his courses, took part in a variety of extra-curricular activities, and volunteered his time in service of others. In honour of Luke’s many accomplishments and contributions, the award is presented annually to a Canadian student who demonstrates Luke’s many qualities – academic performance, interest in science, extra-curricular activities, and volunteering – and has begun post-secondary education in the physical sciences at a Canadian university.

About PI

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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