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

Perimeter shares big ideas in nation’s capital

account_circle By Colin Hunter
Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada hosts Perimeter for an information session on the Institute’s national and international roles in research, training, and educational outreach.

More than 150 guests from across federal parties, government departments, and agencies in Ottawa met with Perimeter researchers, students, and leadership members during the Institute’s inaugural Hill Day this week. 

The event on Parliament Hill shared insights on the Institute, highlighted linkages in regions across Canada and around the world, and sparked discussions about empowering youth through science. 

“We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to discuss Perimeter’s activities with representatives and public servants across the government of Canada,” said Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute. “It was a wonderful opportunity to share our plans and discuss the contributions we hope to make.”

Perimeter's Hill day view inside a room full of people with government officials
Guests met with Perimeter researchers, students, and leadership members during the Institute’s inaugural Hill Day

Perimeter’s Hill Day welcomed guests from a wide breadth of Canadian government. 

They included elected Members of Parliament across Canada – from Vancouver, to St. John’s, to the far north – plus Senators, representatives from Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)Global AffairsHeritage, and other departments. Also in attendance were leaders from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

“What Perimeter is doing is amazing,” said the Hon. Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, Ontario, where the Institute is located.

“We often say that the world needs more Canada, but I also like to say that Canada needs more Waterloo.”

Turok said all the representatives from Perimeter were delighted to strengthen connections with the public supporters that make the Institute possible. 

Neil Turok and Hon. Bardish Chagger
The Hon. Bardish Chagger in a lighter moment at the chalkboards

“It was an honour to meet so many thoughtful, positive people and discuss how we can all help to make this country an example to the world in science, public engagement, and the development of a knowledge-based society,” Turok said. 



Perimeter team in front of Hill in Ottawa
the 22 representatives from Perimeter Institute

The group of 22 representatives from Perimeter Institute – including faculty members, students, postdoctoral researchers, and administrative leadership – discussed their backgrounds, their work, and the opportunity to aim high here in Canada.  

Among the many scientists, particle physicist Asimina Arvanitaki explained her journey to Canada and investigations into the mystery of dark matter, astrophysicist Avery Broderick shared the frontiers of black hole research, and quantum scientists Lauren Hayward SierensJon Yard, and Roger Melko provided insights into new materials and devices that will shape our future. 

Perimeter Institute faculty members discussing with government officials at Hill day in Ottawa
From top left, to bottom right: - Asimina Arvanitaki (Stavros Niarchos Foundation Aristarchus Chair at Perimeter Institute), discusses the opportunity in Canada - ISED ADM Lawrence Hanson and CFI President Gilles Patry in discussion with Perimeter Faculty member Laurent Freidel - Researchers Lauren Hayward Sierens and Roger Melko share insights from quantum science - MPs speaking with Associate Faculty Member Avery Broderick and graduate student Vasudev Shyam on ideas in cosmology

Students and graduates of the Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) master’s program, along with Perimeter PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, discussed why they chose Canada and Perimeter as the place to launch their research careers.

The gathering was also an opportunity to share the Institute’s engagement with youth, teachers, and the general public in Canada and around the world. Greg Dick, Perimeter’s Director of Educational Outreach, said “As a centre with a strong outreach mandate, Perimeter touches every region of the country – reaching students and teachers right in their classrooms – and similar engagement is growing all around the globe.”

Perimeter's outreach being presented to government officials in Ottawa at Hill day
From top left to bottom right: Perimeter Outreach Director Greg Dick shares information on in-class resources - PI team jumping in front of the Innovation 150 touring exhibition truck - Senator Peter Harder with Perimeter’s John Matlock, Director of External Relations and Public Affairs - Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary at ISED, in conversation with Colin Hunter, Perimeter Director of Communications and Media

He also previewed Innovation150 activities that will tour Canada in tandem with national and regional outreach partners. To underscore that effort, a large “Power of Ideas” transport truck was prominently displayed outside the Parliament buildings. The touring exhibit will pop up in communities in every province and territory during the 2017 year of celebration.     



“The variety of discussion was very motivating,” said Michael Duschenes, COO and Managing Director of the Institute.

“Not only on the importance of basic research, but regarding the Institute’s overall approach to attracting top talent, engaging with communities, and exploring new partnerships in areas where Canada can lead.”

Perimeter’s John Matlock, Director of External Relations and Public Affairs, said it was a “tremendous honour” to be hosted by the Speaker, Geoff Regan, in the nation’s capital. 

Perimeter COO Michael Duschenes, Speaker Geoff Regan, and Perimeter Director Neil Turok pose together in Ottawa at Hill day
Speaker Geoff Regan welcomes Perimeter COO Michael Duschenes and Director Neil Turok

“We are very grateful for the wide range of interest in Perimeter’s work from so many dignitaries,” Matlock said.  

Among the guests was Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer and Parliamentary Secretary to ISED Minister Navdeep Bains. He met Institute members involved with the research, training and outreach, and said he was particularly thrilled to chat with Neil Turok about the origins and structure of the universe. 

“To have a place like Perimeter Institute in Canada, bringing together the world’s brightest minds, is amazing,” he said. 

“The work that Perimeter does – and will continue to do – creates knowledge that will benefit future generations.”

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. 

For more information, contact:
Mike Brown
Manager, Communications & Media
519-569-7600 x5131