Learn more about Perimeter Institute by clicking on the questions or scrolling below.

Q: What is Perimeter Institute?

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research organization working to advance our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter, and information. Perimeter also provides a wide array of research training and educational outreach activities to nurture scientific talent and share the importance of discovery and innovation among students, teachers, and the general public.

Q: What is Perimeter Institute’s mission?

We believe breakthroughs are realized through a collision of intellect, imagination, and inspiration. We exist to enable the most ambitious research in theoretical physics and share its transformative power with the world. As such, Perimeter conducts:

  • Research, at the cutting edge of foundational theoretical physics
  • Training, for the next generation of brilliant young thinkers
  • Educational outreach, to share a love of science and boost scientific literacy among students, teachers, and the general public throughout Canada and beyond.

Q: What do scientists at Perimeter Institute research?

Perimeter researchers span nine research fields. Together, these fields combine our most important insights into the basic laws governing the universe, from subatomic and quantum scales, to the tabletop scales of condensed matter systems, to the description of the entire cosmos. Perimeter’s choice of complementary disciplines is unique worldwide; its emphasis on ambitious, unconstrained scientific enquiry – particularly at the intersections between fields - has led to a vibrant, growing research community. | more |

Q: Why is theoretical physics important?

Foundational theoretical physics is a cornerstone of modern quantitative science, on which so much else rests. It’s perhaps the highest-impact yet lowest-cost area of basic research. The goal of the field is to understand how the universe works at the most fundamental level. Its discoveries have advanced human understanding and seeded innovations across fields from mechanical engineering to wireless communication, and from electronics to power generation. Radio, television, semiconductors, computers, cell phones, lasers, fibre optics, holography, the Internet, GPS, solar cells, and diagnostic imagery – they are all rooted in breakthroughs in theoretical physics. As history shows us, one breakthrough in the field can literally change the world. | more |

Q: How many research scientists and trainees are at Perimeter Institute?

Perimeter is home to more than 150 researchers, ranging from master's-level research trainees to eminent senior scientists. The Institute hosts over 1,000 visiting researchers every year, making it a global hub for the interchange of ideas. It also houses the world’s largest group of independent postdoctoral researchers in theoretical physics.

Q: Is Perimeter Institute part of a university?

No. Perimeter Institute is a fully independent, not-for-profit organization advancing scientific research, training, and outreach. However, Perimeter partners with many universities and other theoretical and experimental research organizations across Canada and around the world. One celebrated partnership is Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) which combines the strengths of Perimeter Institute with the nearby University of Waterloo in the delivery of a master's-level research training program. Aside from the many cooperative institutional partnerships, Perimeter researchers collaborate regularly with colleagues at research organizations around the world.

Q: Is Perimeter Institute tied to BLACKBERRY – or any other private companies?

No. Perimeter has no affiliation to BlackBerry. The Institute was founded in part through the personal philanthropy of Mike Lazaridis, Founder, Board Vice-Chair, and Chair of the Innovation Committee of BlackBerry (formerly Reasearch In Motion Limited). | more |

Q: How is Perimeter Institute funded?

Perimeter Institute is funded through an innovative and public-private partnership - uniting governments, individuals, corporations, and foundations in a shared enterprise to help advance scientific breakthroughs, nurture scientific talent, and share scientific discovery with the public. Perimeter receives public investment from both the Ontario Government and Government of Canada. Private funds come from a variety of individuals, corporations, and foundations – including BMO Financial Group, Templeton Foundation, SunLife Financial and other visionary donors. Members of the public are also welcome to donate. Researchers are also supported by grants and awards from agencies that fund basic research, such as Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). | more |

Q: How is Perimeter Institute governed?

Oversight at Perimeter includes:

  • A volunteer Board of Directors drawn from the private sector and academic community. The Board is the final authority on all matters related to the general structure and development of the institute. Financial planning, accountability, and investment strategy are carried out by the Board’s Investment & Audit Committees.
  • Scientific direction is guided by Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute, as well as the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), made up of eminent international scientists.
  • Additional accountability and transparency through independent, peer-reviewed audits in accordance with Perimeter’s public-private partnership agreements.

| more |

Q: Where is Perimeter Institute located?

Perimeter is located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where it operates out of a custom-built facility designed from the bottom up to foster basic research and discovery. | more |

Creating the world's foremost centre for foundational physics, uniting public and private partners, and the world`s best scientific minds, in a shared enterprise to achieve breakthroughs that will transform our future.