Thursday, June 18, 2009

Perimeter Institute Grows

We're running out of space! If you visit Perimeter Institute these days, you'll find desks crammed into every single corner in the corridors. Yet, still more people are being hired. One of the hotly discussed topics in the last months has thus been the upcoming building expansion. Luckily noise and dirt will start after I've left. Here is the official press release, with all significant quotes and digits:

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, June 18, 2009 - Today, Neil Turok, Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, welcomed the new investment of $10,012,043 from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) supporting a major expansion of the Institute's world class facility.

"The CFI's support of cutting-edge research infrastructure has transformed Canada's research landscape and increased the country's international competitiveness," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. "Investments like these have allowed Perimeter Institute to become a destination of choice for some of the world's top research talent."

Perimeter's existing building in Waterloo, made possible by a past CFI investment in 2002, exceeded expectations and is operating at capacity. It must now be expanded to achieve the Institute's goal of becoming a world-leading centre promoting major scientific breakthroughs. This new CFI funding will support a 55,000 square foot expansion, in the form of a purpose-built facility designed by the Governor General Award winning firm Teeple Architects.

Plans allow for Perimeter to double its individual and group research spaces, including a new world-class research training space, all with state-of-the-art IT infrastructure enabling complex calculations and the analysis of large data sets as well as remote collaboration with international colleagues. The expanded facility has been designed as the world's ultimate environment for physicists to conceive, visualize and understand the nature of reality, from the subatomic world to the entire universe.

The potential payoff of this expansion of Perimeter Institute is immense. Just one major discovery in theoretical physics is literally capable of changing the world, as when Maxwell discovered a unified description of electricity and magnetism, and Marconi applied his ideas to send the first radio signals. Today, quantum theory is paving the way for the computers and communication systems of tomorrow, which will
vastly exceed the capabilities of current technologies. This historically proven cycle of innovation is fuelled by the foundational thinking that drives the research chain.

"The support received from federal partners like CFI is invaluable and will enable Perimeter Institute to become a leading global hub for theoretical physics research," said Neil Turok, Director of the Institute. "As a result, Perimeter Institute now provides an exceptional opportunity for major scientific progress, for Canada and for the world."

Funding for this project is part of a major $666,128,376 investment announced today by the CFI to support 133 projects at 41 institutions across the country. $247,664,977 was awarded under the Leading Edge Fund (LEF), designed to enable institutions to build on and enhance already successful and productive initiatives supported by past CFI investment.

Another $264,741,466 million was awarded under the New Initiatives Fund (NIF), designed to enhance Canada's capacity in promising new areas of research and technology development. Finally, $153,721,933 was awarded under the Infrastructure Operating Fund, which assists institutions with the incremental operating and maintenance costs associated with new infrastructure.

"Our community is an innovation leader, and we continue to build the intellectual capacity that will drive our future growth and prosperity," said Peter Braid, MP for Kitchener-Waterloo. "This funding for research infrastructure at the Perimeter Institute will ensure that Canada remains at the forefront of scientific discovery, and reinforces our reputation as a centre of excellence."

A complete list of projects funded today by the CFI can be found at:

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians.


  1. They should have let you go! You could have whipped them into shape in 5 minutes!

    BUT hiring!!! wooo wooo All that I have been doing is layoffs.

  2. Are there already plans about where and how the building will be extended? Or will there be an entirely new building somewhere in the neighborhood?

    Cheers, Stefan

  3. Hi Stefan,

    Perhaps this earlier article will answer some of your questions , yet from what i gather it will be an actual attached addition to the existing building. So you might say they are simply increasing the perimeter. In saying that I've always thought an institute with such a name should be round rather the rectangular. Then again it might have been more correct to call it The Circumference Institute :-) I know that was bad ,yetI just couldn’t resist.



  4. While the PI announcement says $10m, the CFI web says $15m awarded to PI.

    Either way $15m is hardly enough to construct a 55,000 sq ft facility. My guts tell me at least twice that is needed, and another $10m to equip it. You need $50m to get going. And that's without funding Bee's considerable expenses.

  5. All is for good cause, but there is a much cheaper and quicker way to increase the institute's chance of contributing anything to the scientific arena: change their hiring policy (no more cranks).

  6. @Stefan

    I'm very curious as well! And thanks to Phil for that article. The only place I can see it expanding is on that field to the West of the building. It doesn't seem like there is that much space there though. Plus I'll have to find somewhere else to toss around a Frisbee :(

  7. Phil,

    You must of done a search using "Perimeter" from the Q2C announcement Bee put up?

    Howard does talk about his selection of titles for the Institute in relation to circle, sphere. It must have been his geometrical yearning for a "brighter future" with this abstract regard?:)


  8. Stefan, Luke, Phil: Yes, there are plans. I've seen pictures from the architects and we also have a model in the library. It's hard to describe though. The extension will surround one side of the building which I think is the East side. Best,


  9. Bee: Thanks. I'll have to head down to PI and look at the model then.

  10. including a new world-class research training space Does PI have babes in creche? Collect the world's best young minds (least lovable people) in a non-lethal environment, expect miracles. Manhattan Project, Bell Labs, Google.

    SI mass standard is a drifting lump, Newton's G cannot be calculated, the Standard Model arrives massless. SUSY partners do not appear, protons do not decay, the Higgs boson is faery dust. Supergravity, lattice and loop quantum gravity, string and M-theory predict nothing.

    Do something! Uncle Al offers two founding postulate killers: parity Eotvos experiment in quartz and parity calorimetry experiment in benzil. Eat the elephant starting with a first bite (e.g., New Year's Day 1957).

  11. PI sits at 43.465°N latitude. Given a week and two differential scanning calorimeters you might falsify both classical and quantized gravitation theory. How is that not better than the past ten years summed?

  12. Marconi applied his ideas to send the first radio signals.

    The story is more complicated. See


  13. In line with the expansion of the universe.

  14. As a building our new Acropolis museum is better. We have the grand opening today by the way.

    The British museum should return the Parthenon marbles to their birthplace now!

    A little promotion there Bee. I hope you don't mind:-)

  15. And here some pictures from the interior.

  16. By Giotis: “The British museum should return the Parthenon marbles to their birthplace now!”

    Yeah, sure, you can always hope... But if the British museum should return some stolen stone pieces, then it would be yet much more fair that British banks return all treasures of illegal origin they have accumulated from the whole world, robbed from millions of really poor people that can hardly protect themselves. One can always hope... And then the “great” scientists with no problem solutions for decades should return wasted money to unaware tax-payers they cheated. One can always hope... And then their “top” and luxurious state innovation funds (in Canada and elsewhere in rich world centres), constituted from fruits of hard work of the same, always cheated tax-payers (in fact, of the whole world!), should stop investing in evidently and explicitly lying “advanced-science” enterprises with no progress, no real perspective and no public understanding, disproving themselves their “best results”. One can always hope...

    And by the way, Giotis, your particularly advanced scientists and cultural elites (I guess mainly from Greece but also from the whole world) around Parthenon should finally finish one day that never-ending “reconstruction” of the great temple, will they? Because it seems that it took much less time for your ancient ancestors to build the temple, with their rudimentary technology, than to their rich modern heirs armed with all super-powerful modern technologies to reconstruct what they want to reconstruct (not really everything I think!). They have even built a whole brand new museum, but the temple is always in scaffolding (or at least there is no other news). When is this eternal “repair” going to end? I suspect never, simply because it feeds so many parasites while it's open and it is so easy to “justify” any investment in “such great” historical treasure... But one can always hope, of course.

    But a more realistic hope I'm afraid is that one day a world like this, with such kind of “fair play” (ah, those famous British standards!) and such kind of “efficiency” of legal organised crime everywhere, will finally fall, as it already does apparently. And it is only in that way that the legalised but ultimately destructive crime can stop: when everything will be destroyed (already almost done in fundamental physics). Unfortunately, there will be practically no winners to profit from that sad demise. Even though other possibilities are always open and one can always hope...

    Keep us informed about the grand opening of the museum and the rivers of champagne on top of those old stones, simply old stones and nothing more. Because, if there was something more as a legacy of that great ancient civilisation, we would have a different world, with other kind of preferences and real, working moral values. Have a nice sightseeing!

  17. Andrei there will be a live broadcast of the opening today (8 o'clock local time) via the museum's web page here.

    BTW, It's not our intention to recreate the whole monument, it would be silly. We reconstruct selectively only parts of it.
    Anyway the Americans have already done it in Tennessee with the statue of Goddess Athena inside:-). Check it out.

  18. So, replaced by USA today, great heirs of ancient civilisation? :) Seems so, anyway...

    It's finally completely inexplicable, motivations that finally determine everything. Why these ones want it all, really, now, and not those others having no less reason and possibility for it? Why did they dare that fantastic landing on the Moon so long ago and today NASA tries painfully to justify its existence by ecological programmes? We should already be working on Mars by now...

    So no wonder for Greeks: fatigu├ęs, after all those thousands of years... :) Still fighting with the police, however!


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