Celebrating the sixth class of Perimeter Scholars International


Congratulations to the sixth class to complete PI’s “theoretical physics boot camp,” the Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) master’s program.

In a ceremony filled with laughter and some tears, the 2015 class of Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) commemorated an intense year of physics, friendships, and plenty of coffee. 
 
Thirty-three students from more than a dozen countries participated in this year’s program, which culminated in a bittersweet farewell during Convergence, with many PSI alumni in attendance. 
 
“We have all been given the best education possible,” said student Sonali Mohapatra during a shared valedictory address with Tom O’Brien. “To our professors and instructors, the insight and knowledge you gave us was phenomenal.”
 
Every year, Perimeter fields hundreds of applications to the program, which is unique both for the challenges of the subject matter and for its focus on teamwork between students, tutors, and faculty. 
 
Having earned their PSI certificates, the latest cohort of students will receive their full MSc degrees from the University of Waterloo at a convocation ceremony this fall. 
 
Perimeter Director Neil Turok lauded the students for their ambition and dedication.
 
“You’ve taken on probably the most difficult graduate program in physics worldwide,” said Turok. “What we want PSI to be is a way for brilliant young people to get working on cutting-edge, interesting problems as quickly as possible. We are here to make breakthroughs, and the conditions could not be better. What we need most is originality and creativity, and that comes most of all from young people.”
 
Turok then introduced one of his own mentors and longtime collaborator Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, to deliver the keynote address.
 
“There is no question in theoretical physics that is beyond your reach,” Steinhardt told the students. “Follow your heart, not the crowd. When you choose something to work on, it has to be something you strongly believe in your heart to be important. I wish you good luck, future discoverers.”
 
Though six of the students will remain at Perimeter to pursue PhDs, most will spread out around the world to new opportunities. But, as Turok reminded them, they are now “part of Perimeter for life.”
 
– Colin Hunter
 
 

About Perimeter Institute

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 
 

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“Follow your heart, not the crowd.”

 

– Paul Steinhardt