Donor Profiles

It takes vision to see past current horizons. Meet some of the visionaries who support Perimeter.


Finance and physics are mathematical fields, but it isn't a knack for numbers that drew Gluskin Sheff + Associates to Perimeter Institute. It's the shared ethos of innovation. Founded in 1984, the firm prides itself on leadership and innovative thinking, traits that have vaulted the firm into Canada's upper echelons of wealth management.

That's why the firm's President and CEO Jeremy Freedman saw Perimeter as a natural partner. "At Gluskin Sheff, we see ourselves as innovators, and we're proud to be associated with Perimeter Institute because Perimeter is a global leader and innovator as well," Freedman said. "We believe Canadian institutions can be as good as anyone in the world  Perimeter has proven that, and we believe Gluskin Sheff is proving that as well."

The Gluskin Sheff Freeman Dyson Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute is supported by Gluskin Sheff's $2 million donation, matched by Perimeter. It is named after one of the 20th century's most distinguished and well-known scientists, whose work continues to influence many branches of physics. Inaugural chairholder Freddy Cachazo's work is anticipated to have similar impact.


Chairman (retired) and Founder, Teledyne DALSA Corporation
Savvas Chamberlain knows better than most people that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. After all, he’s a scientist and inventor who turned his deep expertise in CCD image sensors (the kind of sensors inside high-end digital cameras) into a company called DALSA. Today, DALSA is a global leader in high performance imaging and semiconductors. Their image sensors are even inside NASA’s Mars Rovers.

It wouldn’t have happened without physics. Semiconductors (of which CCDs are a type) were invented by theoretical physicists: Willard Boyle (a Canadian) and George Smith from Bell Labs, who were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work. The connection is even deeper, as CCDs rely on the photoelectric effect, described by Albert Einstein in 1905.

The breakthroughs made by the great physicists of the past have shaped our modern world in deep and surprising ways. And the breakthroughs made by the great physicists of the present – who knows where they will take us?

The beauty of investing in these breakthroughs is that the price tag does not have to be high. This isn’t “big science” with its high-priced equipment. Theoretical physics is work done largely on chalkboards.

By lending their support to the Perimeter Institute, far-sighted individuals like Savvas Chamberlain can help make the breakthroughs that will change the world.



The Cowan Foundation is a lead sponsor of the Perimeter Institute’s Power of Ideas travelling exhibition, a national partnership celebrating Canadian innovation for the country’s sesquicentennial in 2017.
Youth and families take a fun hands-on approach to engaging in the process of science through this immersive experience that fosters curiosity and a better understanding of how we investigate our world.
Travelling to schools and science centres across the country, the Power of Ideas Exhibition also includes an interactive presentation for youth that draws on stories of Canada’s past to inspire the innovator in all of us.
“The Perimeter Institute is once again thinking of creative ways to positively engage Canadians through science outreach, and we are happy to be one of the lead partners to assist as they roll this innovative exhibition across the country for individuals of all ages to explore and enjoy.”
– Terry Reidel, Executive Director, The Cowan Foundation


In decades of exploration, from the Arctic to Antarctica and many places in between, Mike Cannell and Judith DesBrisay have witnessed two compounding losses: the wild places they love are suffering due to climate change, while public faith in the scientific process that could help address those issues is quickly eroding.

That, in a roundabout way, led them to support Perimeter Institute as private donors. It's not as big a stretch as it seems. Cannell fabricated components for TRIUMF before spending more than 20 years as a college administrator. DesBrisay was a nurse who sought out remote postings, and an artist whose works explore the relationship between people, environment, and science.

They hope Perimeter and institutes like it can help bolster the case for science by raising awareness about how essential it is to a healthy society and a healthy planet.

"Because we've travelled from pole to pole, we can say with great certainty that the planet's not doing well," Cannell said. "Perimeter won't provide solutions to global problems, but we might learn something interesting for the sake of knowledge."

Read the full profile of Mike Cannell and Judith DesBrisay in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Inside the Perimeter Magazine.



“I am eager to see what today’s chalkboards will look like when they too come to life.” 

Savvas Chamberlain,

Perimeter Donor and Leadership Council Member