Ontario institute finally gets Stephen Hawking - thestar.com
Stephen Hawking, formerly of Cambridge University, finally arrives this weekend for a visit. Almost two years ago, rumours began of Hawking’s move to Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics from Cambridge where he was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics for 30 years, a position once held by Isaac Newton. Reports of a tug-of-war for Hawking between the venerable English institution and the heavily funded upstart research facility began in 2008. At the time, Cambridge denied any such move, but last year announced Hawking’s retirement in October.
That was after Perimeter director Neil Turok, a one-time colleague of Hawking’s at Cambridge, left England to take up his new role, in part because the university would not spend $40 million to expand its Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (which Turok headed) to create a Hawking Institute.
Scientists across Canada, theoretical physicists in particular, are giddy about having a man whose stated goal is nothing short of “a complete understanding of the universe” in their own backyard, at least until July, when Hawking’s visit will end. But many more are planned.
"As a student it helps bring attention to the field,” says Saba Zuberi, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, who specializes in particle physics within the field of theoretical physics. “Bringing this kind of physics celebrity draws other top researchers, it’s a great resource. The type of lectures and interactions that will now be available is something we’re definitely excited about . He is an exceptional communicator, whether to other scientists or to the wider public. We are delighted he has agreed to deliver a televised lecture, to be shown across Canada."
That address will be broadcast at 8 p.m. June 20 on TVO and promises viewers the same insights that made the physicist’s best-selling books A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell so popular with mainstream readers.