Thursday, December 11, 2008

Perimeter Scholars International

News from PI for our student readers:

Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) Provides New Opportunity for Young Researchers
Unique Masters Course Now Accepting Applications

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, December 9, 2008 - Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI), in partnership with the University of Waterloo, has launched Perimeter Scholars International (PSI), a concentrated Masters level course for exceptional students who wish to become researchers in theoretical physics.

The 10-month course will be taught at the Perimeter Institute by outstanding international lecturers. Participants will be brought to the cutting edge of fundamental physics across a wide range of research disciplines, and conduct a specialized research project under the supervision of a faculty member at one of the local universities. The course will prepare students for PhD research in Theoretical Physics.

“Theoretical physics is the basis for much of modern science and technology. PSI is designed for adventurous students who wish to understand the deep principles underlying the physical world and how to translate them into observational predictions,” says Neil Turok, Perimeter Institute Director. “Our aim is to attract and nurture the brightest talents from across Canada and around the world and enable them to become brilliant young researchers contributing to future discoveries.”

The Masters degree will be issued by the University of Waterloo (UW), an internationally recognized university within walking distance of PI. UW President David Johnston says, “We are very pleased to join forces with Perimeter Institute and help propel this new model for research training. Such a program is long overdue. The ingenuity of PI and the academic foundation at UW will provide young researchers with unique opportunities to develop their skills.” Amit Chakma, UW Vice-President, Academic and Provost, adds, “PSI will see an influx of top talent into the existing research culture here in Waterloo, Ontario, while stimulating a new generation of scientists who can drive future discoveries of incalculable benefit to our world.”

PSI will enroll its first 25 students in August 2009, and will eventually grow to 50 scholars per year. Fully funded scholarships will be available as needed. Applications should be submitted by February 1st, 2009 in order to receive full consideration. For detailed information regarding all procedures, scholarship opportunities, supervision, accreditation, and program leadership, please visit the PSI website.

About Perimeter Institute

Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research and educational outreach organization where international scientists cluster to push the limits of our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter and information. The award-winning research centre provides a multi-disciplinary environment to foster research in areas of Cosmology, Particle Physics, Quantum Foundations, Quantum Gravity, Quantum Information, Superstring Theory, and related areas. The Institute, located in Waterloo, Ontario, also provides a wide array of educational outreach activities for students, teachers and members of the general public in order to share the joy of scientific research, discovery and innovation. In partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, Perimeter Institute continues to be a successful example of private and public collaboration in science research and education.

Contact Information

· PSI Program inquiries can be directed to John Berlinsky, PSI Director, at
· All other inquiries, such as media requests, should be directed to Angela Robinson at


  1. It's definitely a good thing for the University of Waterloo, long over-due as they say, but I have my doubts concerning the very liberal spirit of the whole thing.

    Like, what's the deal with the no exam thing ??? I mean, just like every other students I hate exams, but still I know they are there for a good reason, namely to motivate the students to study hard and to have something to put on the transcript. When you applied for a Phd after going through a master like that, the selection committee will only see a "distingued-passed-failed" grade, that's it ! Hard to make a decision based on that.

    In addition, a 10 months program to do research is way, way too short. I know the goal of the program is more oriented towards exploring areas and learning different stuff, but in the end they have a mini thesis to defend... so they have to do some kind of research. I estimate at most 3 months of "effective" research ...

    Also, I checked the curriculum, and it seems way to packed up. For example, they learn QFT in 18 hours of lecture, and string theory in 9 hours of lecture. Again, I know they don't want the students to specialize in anything too soon, but you know what they say, when you want to do too many things too fast you just end-up doing nothing correctly.

    I do criticize the program, but in the end I'm just jealous that it didn't exist a year ago ! (Plus their website is really really nice !)

  2. Hi Bee,

    If I were (n) number of years younger I would set my sights on entering such a program. I can’t help but think this will be good for the researchers as well, for although they haven’t developed that pill you mentioned earlier to stay young it might serve to have some of their own ideas stay energized and fresh.



  3. Hi Bee -- any word on whether the lectures will be made available on PIRSA?


  4. Why isn't PI admitting full-time graduate students this year??

  5. Don't know, sorry. We are having serious space issues (the building is more than full already), maybe that plays a role.

  6. the online PSI application form dos'nt upload my cv or statement of purpose...have tried in wordpad and pdf..the text info goes ok.can somebody help?...lg


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