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

Romina Abachi is the 2011 recipient of the Luke Santi Memorial Award

Romina Abachi named the 2011 recipient of the Luke Santi Memorial Award.

Markham, Ontario’s Romina Abachi is the 2011 winner of the Luke Santi Memorial Award for Student Achievement presented by Perimeter Institute.


The award honours Luke Santi, a student at Resurrection High School in Kitchener who volunteered with PI’s Outreach department and attended Perimeter’s International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP) in 2007. Later that year, he passed away at the age of 16 from brain cancer. 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 a physical sciences program at a Canadian university. 


This year’s recipient, Romina Abachi, is a former student of Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto, now attending the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Romina Abachi receives the Luke Santi award from the hands of Greg Dick
Greg Dick, PI Director of Educational Outreach, and Romina Abachi, 2011 Luke Santi Memorial Award winner.

Among Romina’s many academic accomplishments, she received the University Of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Innovation Award and two gold medals at the Toronto Regional Sci-Tech Fair, most recently for her project “Using Photonic Crystals to Enhance the Efficiency of Solar Cells”. She has also received numerous awards for having top marks at her high school as well as in the Fermat and Fryer national math contests.

In addition to her academic achievements, Romina has been involved in her high school’s Nature Studies Club as co-founder and vice-president, the Eco-Team, and multiple athletic teams. In her community, Romina won the Identify N Impact Award for youth achievers for her work founding the Youth Sarcoma Initiative (YSI). Along with two friends, she founded this for-youth by-youth group and acquired multiple grants to help organize city-wide fundraising projects across Toronto. The funds raised by YSI go directly to research at Toronto’s SickKids hospital.

Since the fall of 2009, Romina has been involved in the University of Toronto’s Mentorship Program. Under the supervision of Professor Andreas Mandelis, she has worked on multiple experiments analyzing methods of solar-cell testing in the mechanical engineering department’s Centre for Advanced Diffusion-Wave Technologies (CADFIT). She has most recently been working on experiments testing the emissivity of metallic surfaces as a function of the degree of oxidation.

Romina’s many accomplishments were recognized on stage at the November 2nd PI Public Lecture featuring Dr. Fay Dowker. Following the public lecture, Romina and her family enjoyed a special celebratory dinner with the Santi family and Dr. Dowker.

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