Howard Burton

Jun 21, 2021

First Principles

Building Perimeter Institute

Open Agenda Publishing 2021

In this second edition of First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, Howard Burton tells the remarkable and unconventional story—with a bold and biting humour and surprising candour—of the founding of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. Howard was the Founding Director of Perimeter Institute and his experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of PI are described in this thought-provoking book featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

Howard Burton was a freshly-minted physics PhD from the University of Waterloo when a random job query resulted in a strange - albeit fateful - meeting with Research In Motion founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. Mike had a crazy idea: he wanted to spend $100 million of his own recently-found wealth (Research In Motion had just gone public a year earlier and he suddenly found himself fabulously wealthy on paper) to do something new and transformative in the world of science. From these curious beginnings began the story of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and Howard's role as its founding director from 1999-2007.

Howard Burton is also the founder and host of all Ideas Roadshow Conversations. Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative producing a wide range of innovative, multimedia resources, including several pedagogical databases and a wide range of books in both electronic and print format developed from in-depth conversations with more than 100 world-leading researchers, including 3 Nobel Laureates. Ideas Roadshow conversations reveal the inspirations and personal journeys behind the research while providing behind-the-scenes insights into the world of frontline researchers. You can check it out on ideasroadshow.com. Howard also spoke to me about the books Conversations about Astrophysics and Cosmology, Biology and Neuroscience on the NBN, so make sure to look those episodes on our website or any podcast app you use.

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Galina Limorenko

Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.

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