Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lauds “cutting-edge research” at Perimeter
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became both teacher and student when he visited Perimeter Institute today to officially announce the federal government’s commitment to support fundamental scientific research at Perimeter.
Joined by Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan and Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger, the self-described “geek prime minister” listened intensely as he received brief overviews of Perimeter research in areas spanning from quantum science to condensed matter physics and cosmology.
“You don’t have to be a geek like me to appreciate how important this work is,” he then told a packed audience of scientists, students, and community leaders in Perimeter’s atrium.
“Without the work of theoretical physicists, like the ones who are researching, teaching, and training here at the Perimeter Institute, we wouldn’t have many of the things that improve our daily lives.”
The Prime Minister was also welcomed by 200 teenagers attending the Institute’s annual Inspiring Future Women in Science conference, and via video greetings from cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who is a Perimeter Distinguished Visiting Research Chair. The Prime Minister said he was “incredibly overwhelmed” by Hawking’s message.
“Canada is a wonderful, huge country, full of people with big hearts and forward-looking minds,” Hawking said in his message. “It’s an ideal place for an institute dedicated to the frontiers of physics. In supporting Perimeter, Canada sets an example for the world.”
Perimeter Institute Director Neil Turok gave the Prime Minister a brief verbal tour of the universe, from the infinitesimal to the infinite, and welcomed him to the stage.
“Together, we have built a talent magnet, attracting the brightest, most motivated young people from around the world, to tackle some of the most ambitious and challenging problems in science,” said Turok.
“Canada is very well placed to become a global knowledge and innovation leader.”
The visit reiterated the Government of Canada’s pledge of $50 million over five years announced in last month’s budget to support Perimeter research, training, and outreach.
It was the Prime Minister’s second trip to the Region of Waterloo this year. In January, he toured the region’s tech sector and universities, and praised the area’s innovation ecosystem.
This time, the focus was on the first link of the innovation chain: fundamental science that could unlock important discoveries, advance human understanding, and underpin the groundbreaking technologies of tomorrow.
Perimeter research aims to decode the mysteries of nature, from the tiniest quantum particles to the entire cosmos. One fundamental research area in particular, quantum information, is predicted to advance the ways we compute, communicate, and live.
Perimeter Founder and Board Chair Mike Lazaridis detailed just how the coming quantum future might look.
“There is no limit to the power of the human mind to understand the universe and to use that knowledge to create and invent,” Lazaridis said.
“We see a world of high-temperature superconductors, quantum sensors, quantum computers, non-invasive medical diagnostics, and high-resolution medical imaging. We see new materials with incredible properties. We see quantum-based, unbreakable security protecting our information, communication, and financial systems. We see better batteries, and more efficient electrical motors and generators. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Turning those ideas into reality is one of the hardest challenges in science today. Waterloo Region – particularly Perimeter Institute, the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, and Quantum Valley Investments – is staking a claim at the leading edge of this effort, and becoming established as Canada’s “Quantum Valley.”
“The investment we’re announcing today will strengthen Perimeter Institute’s position as a world-leading research centre, and help advance Canada’s role as a leader in the global scientific community,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.
“It’s extremely important to underline how essential the work being done here is, not just for Canada, but for the entire world.”
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.