Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Canada is great...

"...because Canadians made it great. The people who built this country worked hard to realize their vision. They set us on a bold course to greater hope and opportunity. They had a passion for the free, prosperous and welcoming country they called Canada.
We stand on their shoulders.

[...]
Canada is a powerful idea. We are a modern nation that stands up for Canadian values in this world. We are prosperous and compassionate. Aspirational and welcoming. Independent and strong."

With these words, Canadian Finance minister Jim Flaherty announced the 2007-08 budget yesterday. You can read more praise of the Canadian nation in his speech here, but the really important thing is:

"The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, which is devoted to the study of foundational issues in theoretical physics, is an example of [such] a world-renowned research institute. Since its creation in 1999, the Perimeter Institute has become a leader for Canadian research in the emerging field of quantum physics and a model for science education and outreach. The Perimeter Institute has demonstrated outstanding scientific merit, has a national reach and has received significant funding commitments from the private sector and the Government of Ontario. Budget 2007 provides $50 million to the Perimeter Institute in 2006–07 to support its leading research, education and public outreach activities."
[read the full report]

And while we're at praising - related: In 2007 Waterloo is again among the world's top seven intelligent communities.

15 comments:

amaragraps said...

Congratulations PI! Also, Congratulations Tallinn! Big change from 15 years ago.

Aaron said...

Looks like the Conservatives really, really, really want to get re-elected.

CFI grants got a nice bolus as well, which is good news for my part of the world.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether a political party is right or left wing, they almost always end up governing from the "middle" in a democracy.

Only in a totalitarian system can a particular party govern from the right or left wing extremes, such as the Stalinist Soviet Union, Maoist China, Nazi Germany, East Germany, Afghanistan under the Taliban, Spain under Franco, etc ...

Bee said...

they almost always end up governing from the "middle" in a democracy

that's the point of democracy. even if your party is elected it doesn't mean it can from then assume it automatically represents the nation's opinion no matter what.

dark-matter said...

Congratulations to all at PI, particularly to those engaged in research. $50M from the public to PI, directly announced by the federal finance minister is no small thing. Go do your thing and show the world what you can cough up. For one, I am looking forward to have my 'name' reduced to mere facts.

garrett said...

Ooh, that should lead to a nice painting for the lobby.

Rae Ann said...

Congratulations to PI and your boss. ;-) This doesn't sound to me like physics in danger or oppression by anything, unless it's the weight of the wallet that is hard to carry. ;-)

Bee said...

Hi Garrett,

true... :-) there was an art committee meeting last week where it was discussed what is going to happen with the empty wall. But so far no decision has been made.

Hi RaeAnn,

Canada is not the USA and sadly PI is an exception even among the exceptions. I still wake up every morning and wonder why I belong to the few lucky people :-) A friend recently said to me 'The Canadians have so much money they don't know how to spend it'. Another friend said very wisely 'Canada is all the good sides from the USA plus all the good sides from Europe... minus the weather.'

Currently it's about 0 ° and raining.

Best,

B.

Rae Ann said...

Hi Bee, I was mostly being facetious with my last comment. I'm sure Canada is great. I've always wanted to visit there someday (as many of the Provinces as possible). Just last night I was thinking about how over the millennia humans have migrated all over the planet, probably in response to climate changes. If we really are in the middle of a big change, then Canada will gain a lot of new and useful land and resources. And then maybe all the Mexicans will just keep migrating north. Sorry, I don't mean that in any negative way... just imagining the continuation of their migration trends.

And I'm also frequently overwhelmed and thankful for my own lucky existence. It's probably not the ideal to many, but to me it's pretty good. :-) You wouldn't be there if you hadn't made many good choices leading you there.

Bee said...

Hi RaeAnn,

should you decide to visit Canada at some point and are around in the Toronto area, come and visit us :-) I haven't seen much of Canada myself, but vaguely planning to take some time off and make a round trip.


Best,

B.

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Bee, finally got round to reading "Your Inspiration" @ Asymptotia, and I followed the 'storm in a tea cup' and of course the always fun filled tete-a-tete with Lubos on your previous post.

However I notice one thing, well 2

1) Though there are many more of us on Earth than a thousand years ago, there are also a thousand more things to grab our interest. Gosh I still remember when I could name every model of every make of car ... I sort of gave up ... well simply because I had too many other things grabbing my interest in life

2) One cannot wholly detach Particle Physics, Theoretical Physics and Astro Physics from Applied Physics - that would be like trying to detach writing from Modern Languages. Sure some people are interested in Shakespeare in the original version (I can count them on the fingers on my left hand) and sure some people are interested in Latin - but since it is no longer necessary for Medicine or Law - it has become a dead language.

You yourself have put the finger on it - the relevance to the real world. Sure you can take a journey thru the stars in a hubblesite simulation, you can watch the next Star Trek movie on DVD, or carry the whole collection on your memory stick. But until you start selling to people what neutrinos and gravitons are going to do, or be used for ... and/or what strings hold - what has the unravelling DNA given us so far? - then it is going to be hard to enthuse a generation or remain enthused.

It is all very well Lee Smolin and PI trying to sell LQG and daughter universes - to win a theoretical argument that can neither be proven or disproven - at least not in the forseeable future ... but you create gravity, and then create antigravity - and it starts getting interesting. Then you can start LQGing it, and Lee that still won't necessarily give you daughter Universes - but it will make your life and research a lot more, how shall I put it - down to Earth!

On a lighter note
never mind 'dark matter' nestle chocolate, how about G-Strings @ PI

Bee said...

Hi Quasar,

I am not sure about your first point. The 'more things' that grab our attention are the self-made things? The complexity we cause our own increases and so do the questions around it - but do the 'big' questions really get so much more?

This is directly related to your second point. I totally agree with you that one can and should not 'wholly detach Particle Physics, Theoretical Physics and Astro Physics from Applied Physics' - nothing could be farther from what I want. What I meant to say is that one can not always measure the value of knowledge in patents and products. The justification for fundamental research does of course include eventual relevance for applications, but besides this, we should not be afraid to search for answers for the pure sake of learning. This might not please company owners, but this search is relevant to the society we live in. It changes our view of the world, and helps us understand our place this mysterious universe.


Best,

B.

QUASAR9 said...

lol Bee, the big questions don't get bigger, the answer is still 42.

But every 'window' we open, opens a thousand more - so much to see, and so little time, no time for it all - unless one has an 'eternity'

For sure, for sure we search and learn for the pleasure of the search, the pleasure of knowing or understanding what was before us all along

But, one would not want to spend all ones time looking at holiday catalogues - and never go on holiday - of course we may dream of far away places we may never reach, but it shouldn't 'prevent' us from grasping or enjoying what is closer or within our reach.

Rae Ann said...

Hi Bee, thanks! I just might do that sometime. It would be really cool. Toronto really isn't all that far from here, maybe a 12 hour drive. Have a great weekend!

Bee said...

Dear Quasar,

But every 'window' we open, opens a thousand more - so much to see, and so little time, no time for it all - unless one has an 'eternity'

so true... if I only look at the arxiv listing and our seminar list... so much interesting stuff to think about... one really needs a good filter :-)

But, one would not want to spend all ones time looking at holiday catalogues - and never go on holiday - of course we may dream of far away places we may never reach, but it shouldn't 'prevent' us from grasping or enjoying what is closer or within our reach.

Sure, one wants both: research for applications, and research for the sake of understanding. One without the other becomes a meaningless farce. Understanding without using knowledge is as mislead as neglecting the questions that might not result in patents.

Best,

B.