The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

By Joseph Holder on 16 Jun 2011 02:42 pm EDT

Our world - the world you can see, the world you can touch - is governed by gravity. Just as the mass of the sun holds tightly to the eight planets of our solar system, it is the enormous mass of the earth, 6 septillion (6*1024) kilograms, that keeps you from flying off into space. Yet in the subatomic world of the very small, gravity appears nonexistent. Einstein's world of spacetime and the subatomic realm of Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg follow different laws, and yet they both exist and create the world we live it. One of the missions of the Perimeter Institute is to study and unify that divide.

In 2000, Mike Lazaridis' love of science and learning would lead him to create an institution whose mandate was to simply think. Think about the possibilities in explaining the world around us. The founder and Co-CEO of Research In Motion, founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics with a personal donation of $100 million. Mike L. wasn't the only RIM investor; he convinced Doug Fregin and Jim Balsillie each donated $10 million from their own pockets. In 2008, Mike L. donated a further $50 million to PI.

In 2004, the center for learning opened near the campus of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The Perimeter Institute studies some strange things, and the resident scientists and mathematicians struggle with some very difficult concepts each and every day. Though their understanding of higher maths and physics, they are beginning to tackle some truly difficult questions. Featured on the BBC's Horizon, several researchers presented credible theories on what they believe may have existed before the big bang.

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada is Research In Motion's home. RIM began at the University of Waterloo; the company's buildings sit right off the main campus. More than that, RIM has made Waterloo its home. Through generous donations from its employees, RIM has invested in the city. Jim Basillie donated $20 million to create the Centre for International Governance Innovation with the help of an additional $10 from Mike L.  Even less glamorous donations nevertheless benefit the city. Recently, RIM's donation to the The Food Bank of Waterloo Region allowed them to purchase a new refigerated truck. This was in addition to the company's annual food donation drive.

RIM has helped to turn Waterloo into a center for research and development. That in turn puts RIM in the heart of the latest and greatest in scientific achievement. And that's right where they should be, at the forefront of technology.

Reader comments

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics


thanks for posting this... I heard about some of these "investments" (I say that instead of donations because I am sure that we have seen big dividends from the funds they handed over). I know that RIM is getting a lot of stuff thrown at them lately, but they truly do seem to be a GOOD company. I am very interested in their story.

I'm hoping that whatever the physicists are working on over at PI could be implemented into their smartphone technology. Why else would they invest so highly in wanting to know anything that delves into fringe science? Syfy technology is a lot closer than we really think or would like to imagine.

when an article like this gets posted... something isnt right with RIM
thanks to the funding of rim , UOFW is one of the leading school for engineering and math

This is the toughest web site to bite your tongue on all the cool stuff in the labs, but as a 'resident of Kitchener Waterloo' it is a great place to relocate to learn. I don't think there is very many places in Canada, the US or the World, that has the benefit of having a place like Perimeter Institute where you can sign up for a free presentation by one of the researchers and find out how neutrinos that pass through as every day are collected hundreds of meters under the earth and all the cool stuff they found from it.

Kitchener Waterloo, might not be as 'hip and cool' as living in California, and the weather isn't quite the same. Great learning experience though and proud to stamp it as being 'Canadian'.

I pass it everyday going to work... not going to lie though, I miss "the Bubble" that it replaced. Great childhood hockey memories from that arena.

"The city of Waterloo never properly maintained the building though, and by 1987 the building was condemned as structurally unsafe. The city complied by tearing down half of the building, as the grandstands, ice-making equipment, front facade and dressing rooms were all kept while the unsafe roof was torn down. Then - and here is where the story moves from the ridiculous to the sublime - the exposed part of the building was surrounded by a giant inflated kevlar bubble. The city then continued as if nothing at all was amiss about having their main arena partially demolished while still hosting a full schedule of hockey games."

Hey let us not forget the other institute he started - The Institute for Quantum Computing. He has provided over $150 Million in funding and the new home is named after him and his wife (the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Center)

IQC is where real quantum physics are done with real results. They're building your next generation encrypted communications, they're building devices that use the principals of quantum mechanics, and they're using lots of lasers and liquid helium!

(Yes, I do work there but I'm not a scientist)

Perimeter is almost finished building the Stephen Hawking Centre. There's a large community grand opening on September 18th, 2011. Check their website for mor information on tours, science related hands-on fun for the entire family and free public lectures.