Passion for physics earns teen Perimeter award
Alex Landry loves waterskiing, playing guitar, and pondering quantum field theory – though presumably not all at the same time.
That last fixation, quantum field theory, is of particular interest lately to 18-year-old Landry, though he’s also fascinated by string theory, quantum gravity, and practically every other branch of theoretical physics.
It’s understandable, then, that the Mount Allison University student felt a bit like a kid in a candy store during a recent visit to Perimeter Institute, where he was an honoured guest for a day.
Landry is the 2013 recipient of Perimeter’s 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 extra-curricular activities and community involvement.
Having read about Perimeter and watched the Institute’s public lectures online since he was nine, spending a day at Perimeter was a “pretty amazing” experience, said Landry.
“I’ve always wanted to visit Perimeter, since I’ve been interested in theoretical physics since I was pretty young and I knew this was the place where it really happens,” he added. “And it’s one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen.”
Landry was presented with the Luke Santi Memorial Award in front of a packed theatre moments before a Perimeter public lecture, making the experience especially profound for him.
“It’s a big honour for me to be a part of Perimeter like this,” he said.
Landry, a native of Moncton, NB, was chosen from a field of exceptional candidates from across Canada because he best exemplifies the qualities of the award’s namesake. Luke Santi demonstrated a passion for scientific exploration, earning top grades while volunteering in service of his community.
Landry, when not exploring quantum theory or waterskiing, has run five half-marathons and completed two medical research projects at The Moncton Hospital.
A first-year physics student with a deep interest in neuroscience, he’s still undecided about whether he wants to pursue a career in theoretical physics or medicine. At the moment, he’s happily devouring everything he can about both.
“I just love learning how everything works,” he said. “When I’m really learning something, I’m happy.”
ABOUT THE LUKE SANTI AWARD FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
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.
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.