Canada’s self-proclaimed “quantum geek,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, joins IQC anniversary celebration

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The quantum revolution is upon us and Canadians are helping lead the way,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau via video remarks at the Institute for Quantum Computing’s (IQC) 15th anniversary celebration.

On June 22, dignitaries and fellow scientists from around the world gathered to mark 15 years of quantum research excellence at the University of Waterloo and the leadership of Raymond Laflamme who ends his term as IQC Executive Director on June 30, 2017.

Canada’s Prime Minister, and self-proclaimed “quantum geek,” Justin Trudeau, joined in the festivities via video. He celebrated Canadian researchers who are leading the quantum revolution: “What you do here truly has the potential to transform the world, and I, as Prime Minister and a quantum geek, couldn’t be prouder.”

His Excellency, David Johnston, Governor General of Canada also praised the work of IQC and Raymond Laflamme. As former President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, Johnston recruited Laflamme to Waterloo from Los Alamos National Labs in 2001. “Ray…we salute you for all you have done in leading our scientific community,” said Johnston via video, “But also our general community in such remarkable ways.”

University of Waterloo President and Vice Chancellor, Feridun Hamdullahpur praised Laflamme’s leadership across campus and his tremendous contributions to quantum research. Hamdullahpur also announced a new role for Laflamme – a yet to be named university research chair funded in part by Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis. Lazaridis, whose vision set quantum research at Waterloo in motion, reflected on IQC’s history, its future and the immense opportunities quantum technologies hold for Canada. He also commended Laflamme on his ability to build an institute from scratch and bring a whole community together to achieve a common goal.

Other dignitaries and research colleagues also joined both in person and via video from around the world. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne congratulated Laflamme on his leadership and research excellence. Perimeter Institute director, Neil Turok, remarked on Laflamme’s success, in particular in proving Stephen Hawking wrong, a task many physicists have attempted, but where Laflamme succeeded. Juan Pablo Paz, head of the Quantum Foundations and Information group in Buenos Aires, long-time friend and colleague of Laflamme, shared personal memories of research in Los Alamos surrounded by their young children.

IQC was established in 2002 with a vision to create a world-leading centre in quantum information science at the University of Waterloo. 15 years later that vision is reality. IQC is now home to a community of over 240 researchers, over 55,000 square feet of lab space across three buildings and has sparked six startup companies.