Perimeter Founder Elected to Royal Society

For his visionary contributions to accelerating leading-edge research in fundamental physics, Mike Lazaridis has been elected to the national academy of science in the UK.

Perimeter congratulates its founding donor, Mike Lazaridis, on his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society (London).

Lazaridis, who is known as the inventor of the smartphone, is recognized in the global wireless community as a visionary, innovator, and engineer of extraordinary talent. He founded Research In Motion (now BlackBerry), which developed the world’s first smartphone in addition to other innovative products.

“We are delighted about this high honour from the Royal Society of London, recognizing Mike as a true global visionary,” said Neil Turok, Perimeter’s director.

“Mike’s ability to see further than others has been the hallmark of his career. This enabled him to invent the smartphone and pioneer wireless communications worldwide. It also led him to realize that a strategic investment in theoretical physics could substantially accelerate progress in the field and open the door to future technologies.”

In developing the smartphone and other innovations, Lazaridis saw all wireless technologies were underpinned by a breakthrough that had happened over a century earlier: Maxwell’s unification of magnetism and electricity. Likewise, modern computers depend on the early 20th century breakthroughs of quantum mechanics.

Inevitably, Lazaridis realized, the next technological revolution would depend on fundamental physics. This led him to make the primary philanthropic donations that established both Perimeter Institute and the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.

“Mike’s visionary leadership has inspired a new generation of scientists,” says Raymond Laflamme, Executive Director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. “His vision has created an ecosystem of innovation where science can excel in ways that will impact generations to come.”

According to the Royal Society’s citation, “Perimeter Institute has already become an international beacon for theoretical physics and IQC is widely regarded as the leading centre of quantum information science worldwide. Together, these institutes have transformed physics in Canada and made a major impact internationally.”

Founded in the 1660s, the Royal Society is the national academy of science in the UK. It supports excellence in science and encourages the use of science for the benefit of humanity. The Society’s Fellows comprise the most eminent scientists of the UK, Ireland, and the Commonwealth, and include 80 Nobel laureates. Fellows are elected through an annual peer review process that culminates in a vote by existing Fellows.

Read more on the Royal Society and this year’s Fellows.



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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“Mike’s ability to see further than others has been the hallmark of his career.”


– Neil Turok, Perimeter Institute director