By Matin Durrani
The BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute.
It’s a bit of a mouthful, but sooner or later someone – in fact “a scientist of the very highest international calibre” – will have to squeeze that title onto their business card.
That shouldn’t be a problem though as the BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute comes with $4m of funding from the BMO Financial Group, or what used to be the Bank of Montreal. So there ought to be plenty of loose change hanging around for a nice set of cards.
The whopping $4m investment – said to be the biggest in the Perimeter Institute’s 10-year history – will be matched by $4m from the institute’s existing endowment.
The BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute will in fact be just the first of five new top chairs, with the others named in honour of James Clerk Maxwell, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein and Paul Dirac.
In case you missed it, the Perimeter Institute is based in Waterloo, Ontario, and was founded in 1999 by local-boy-made-good Mike Lazaridis, who made his fortune as the founder of Research in Motion – the company that makes Blackberry handheld devices.
The institute, which is keen to attract the brightest and best theorists from around the world, is already undergoing a huge expansion that will see it doubling in size by autumn 2011 with the opening of the Stephen Hawking Centre. Hawking’s already been over as one of the Perimeter’s 20 “distinguished research chairs” after retiring from Cambridge University.
The centre will see Perimeter expanding from its bases in quantum theory, quantum fundamentals, quantum gravity and string theory out into condensed-matter physics, particle physics, cosmology and complex systems.
As for what the BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute will do during their 10-year stint, well, they’ll be “free to engage in investigator-driven research, without limits or mandates”.
But if you’re thinking of applying, don’t. The chair will be “identified through a highly competitive international search, and only scientists of the highest international calibre will be considered”.
Still, it would be nice to think the future chair is reading this right now.