PI Welcomes Sun Life Partnership on Lecture Series

The first lecture of the season will take place on October 6, 2010, featuring William R. Newman, Distinguished Professor in History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, highlighting a curious fascination of Sir Isaac Newton.

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) is pleased to announce the first public event of the 2010-2011 season and welcome Sun Life Financial as presenting sponsor of the PI Public Lecture Series, which begins on Wednesday, October 6, 2010.

Perimeter Institute is proud to partner with Sun Life in sharing the wonders and mystery of science and the importance of research and innovation with the general public. In announcing Sun Life’s sponsorship of the new PI Public Lecture Series, Donald A. Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life Financial states, “Science drives innovation, and the researchers at the Perimeter Institute are working on deep puzzles in nature that have the potential to change our understanding and our world. Sun Life is committed to investing in such innovative thinking and in ways to build a healthier, greener, better educated, more culturally enriched society. So we see our support of the Perimeter Institute and the popular lectures as a very good fit. This partnership can spark further inquiry, promote more discussion and foster the kind of thinking that leads to innovation for the benefit of all.”

In the first lecture of the season on October 6, William R. Newman, Distinguished Professor in History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, will highlight a curious fascination of one of the most profound scientists to have ever lived, Sir Isaac Newton.

Newton’s discoveries in physics, optics, and mathematics overturned a variety of fundamental beliefs about nature and reshaped science in ways that are still powerfully with us. But this is only part of Newton’s fascinating story. Research over the last generation has revealed that the famous scientist had a profound interest in alchemy, composing, transcribing, and expounding alchemical texts, resulting in a mass of papers totaling about a million manuscript words.

Despite our growing knowledge of Newton’s deep involvement in alchemy, one basic question remains to be answered – Why did the founder of Newtonian physics believe in alchemy, a discipline long viewed as discredited in the modern scientific world? In his lecture – complete with live experiments – Prof. Newman, author of the 2006 book Atoms and Alchemy and editor-in-chief of the Chymistry of Isaac Newton project, an online site devoted to the editing of Newton’s alchemical papers, will attempt to arrive at an answer to that question by providing the evidence that led seventeenth-century thinkers to an acceptance of alchemical transmutation.

Prof. Newman’s lecture, entitled “Why did Isaac Newton Believe in Alchemy?” will be held Wednesday, October 6 at 7:00 pm in Waterloo, Ontario. Additional details about the lecture, as well as more information about PI’s 2010-2011 Public Lecture Season presented by Sun Life Financial, can be found at www.perimeterinstitute.ca.    

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of June 30, 2010, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $434 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note: All figures in Canadian dollars.

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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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