The celebration of science, televised across Canada on TVO, kicked off with Mike Lazaridis, PI founder and board chair, sharing reasons why basic research, particularly theoretical physics, is not only crucial to understanding how the universe behaves at a fundamental level, but also drives the building of knowledge-based nations, paves the way for new and transformative technologies and creates long term value throughout society.
PI director Neil Turok elaborated on how theoretical physics "is one of the lowest-cost, highest-impact scientific disciplines," contributing key concepts to fields ranging from astronomy to neuroscience, pure mathematics to computer science and beyond.
In his official welcome to Prof. Hawking, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario, said, "Stephen Hawking is passionate about helping humanity understand the complexity of the universe. We're honoured to welcome him to Ontario and Perimeter Institute, where we are pushing the boundaries of our shared knowledge even further."
In communicating his excitement and enthusiasm for scientific progress, Stephen Hawking said, "The recipe is simple: Bring brilliant people together, in an inspiring and free intellectual environment, where they are encouraged to pursue ambitious and timely research. The importance of special places and special times, where magical progress can happen, cannot be overstated? It seems to me, the same ingredients are being assembled here, at Perimeter Institute. Perimeter's chosen scientific focus, connecting quantum theory and spacetime, is central to new insights, which are emerging, concerning not only black holes and the beginning of the universe, but also nuclear and particle physics, quantum computers, and the science of new materials. Perimeter is a grand experiment in theoretical physics. I am hoping, and expecting, great things will happen here."
Live Blog Discussion
Presented as a companion to the TV broadcast, our expert physicists took your questions on topics ranging from dark matter to black holes to Bekenstein-Hawking radiation, offering depth and context to the subject areas covered during the Stephen Hawking event.
Rupinder Brar is a professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He has a PhD in Astrophysics from Queen's University. During graduate school he researched the halos of spiral galaxies while at the same time discovered his love for teaching Physics and Astronomy. He is the winner of TVO's 2010 Best Lecturer Competition.
Damian Pope is the senior manager of Scientific Outreach at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He holds a PhD in Quantum Physics from the University of Queensland, and currently works on producing educational videos for high school students including, The Mystery of Dark Matter and The Challenge of Quantum Reality.
The live blog was moderated by Rick Nye of TVO Interactive & Digital Media.