As I've mentioned in an earlier post, Canada is great and the present government "provides $50 million to the Perimeter Institute in 2006–07 to support its leading research, education and public outreach activities". So today there is the press conference to make sure the media has a chance to appropriately appreciate the investment in research and development.
Sounds good, but is actually pretty annoying. Starts with me being unable to find a parking spot, I had to park on the museum lot next door, which has a 2 hour limit.
The lobby is crowded with suits in black and blue, and it takes me some while to locate the secretary who has a package for me at the reception. (Turns out to be the SUSY '06 proceedings.) The press conference is scheduled for 11:40 am. We researchers were asked to please sit in the back. The auditorium is full with cameras. The Mr. Importants arrive appropriately late at exactly noon. On the photo below from left to right: Mike Lazaridis also known as He-Who-Started-It-All or Mr. BlackBerry; then there's the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper; in the middle the person with the crumpled suit and sloppily knotted tie is our Director Howard Burton; then there's another minister, and another minister. I think it was the minister for Industry and the one for Finances. Or the other way round. Sorry for the bad photo quality. And sorry, being an ignorant immigrant, I have no idea who these ministers are.
They all said a lot of nice words that are too big to fit into this blog. To make a long story short, science and technology is important for Canada's future, funding research and development is essential for innovation and national competitiveness, and "Canada promotes World Class Excellence" (i.e. PI). As the information brochure Mobilizing Science and Technology says "The Government of Canada will ensure that its policies and programs inspire and assist Canadians to perform at world-class level of scientific and technological excellence". Wow. I am tempted to send this brochure to Angie. But seriously, sitting in the back of the large lecture hall with flash lights flickering, I felt the urge to thank Mike for making PI possible. I have been at quite a number of Institutes but PI is without doubt in several regards exceptional.
Anyway, if you want to see motion in research, the easiest way to mobilize scientists still is just a good buffet.
Now I've got to go move my car. I hope all the TV vans are gone by now.