Physics alumnus Robert Myers named new director of Perimeter Institute

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Robert Myers

Last week, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics named Waterloo Science alumnus Robert Myers (BSc Physics - Co-op ‘82) as their new director. He succeeds the previous director, cosomologist Dr. Neil Turok, who held the position since 2008.

Myers is a global leader in theoretical physics, pioneering the study of black holes within the broad context motivated by string theory. Among his landmark contributions are: the discovery of the first higher-dimensional rotating black hole solution (now known as the Myers-Perry metric); key progress on understanding the statistical interpretation of black hole entropy; a string theory analog of the dielectric effect – the “Myers effect”; and most recently developing new relationships between quantum entanglement and the emergence of space-time geometry.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime," Myers said. "We're going to keep building on the momentum we have, and I think the next 20 years is going to be even more exciting." 

In addition to the directorship, Myers will also hold the institute’s BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair, supported by a $4-million donation from BMO Financial Group.

He was named one of the world’s most influential scientists by Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The annual Highly Cited Researchers list highlights researchers whose citations rank in the top one per cent of their fields. Myers is the only Canadian listed in those years, and the only physicist worldwide to be named in each of the past four years (2014-2017).

He has been awarded the QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal, the 2012 CAP Vogt Medal, the 2005 CAP-CRM Prize in mathematical and theoretical physics, the 1999 CAP Herzberg Medal, and was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2006. He has supervised more than 130 postdocs, PhD, and master’s students over his career; 43 now hold faculty positions around the world, including at Princeton, Cambridge, and Oxford.

“Rob’s contributions as a scientist are second to none," said Perimeter Founder and Board Chair Mike Lazaridis. He is highly respected throughout the global physics community, and he possesses the drive and vision to advance Perimeter at a particularly exciting time in the history of the Institute and of physics more generally.”

Myers began his career in physics as an physics co-op undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science. After receiving his PhD at Princeton in 1986, followed by a postdoctoral researcher appointment at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, he accepted at faculty position at McGill University. He returned to Waterloo  to join the Perimeter Institute in 2001 as one of its founding faculty members and as an adjunct professor at Waterloo's Department of Physics and Astronomy

Last month, Myers received a 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Faculty of Science.

Myers is the third director to lead Perimeter since it was established in 1999 by philanthropist and Research in Motion co-founder Mike Lazaridis.

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