Incidentally, here’s why Neil Turok couldn’t be in Waterloo for the Perimeter Institute announcement on Friday. He is hosting a valued colleague at his other institute on the other side of the world. He is a busy fellow.
Click here to read Maclean’s senior columnist Paul Wells’ blog “Inkless Wells.”
The idea behind Turok’s African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is similar (though there is no institutional link that I can find) to the idea for the African Institute of Science and Technology, which will open in Abuja this autumn and then expand into a network of science and engineering schools in several African countries: growth and development are best served when some of a society’s members are allowed, indeed pushed, to test themselves against the best in the world. (True and important to remember in Canada, incidentally, but more urgently needed in Africa.) There’s an obvious model: The Indian Institutes of Technology, whose establishment in the 1950s had a lot to do with India’s current (spotty, incomplete) rampant technological and economic growth.
With the new blog software, incidentally, we get to see how much interest each post gets from readers. (Must…not… obsess.. over… traffic…stats…) It’s gratifying to see that yesterday’s post on the announcement of Turok’s appointment was one of the most popular postings we’ve had here. It’s almost as though people were interested in interesting things.
As a bonus, part of the Total Foundational Physics Geek-Out here at Inkless, here’s a good look at Montreal architects Saucier + Perrotte’s design for the Perimeter building just off Erb St. in Waterloo. (I like how I say “Just off Erb St.” as though I knew Waterloo like the back of my hand. Just don’t ask me where Erb St. is.) During my one brief conversation with Gilles Saucier, I told him the Perimeter building and the new music building at McGill University both feel a little bit like slabs of slate or something extruding from the earth, and they put me in mind of some of Edward Burtynsky’s photography. Saucier was surprised and pleased. He has had many chats with Burtynsky, he said, about materials and landscapes.