Taking Time Out To Reflect - Greg Dick of Perimeter Institute
Posted on April 4th, 2012 by Bob Telfer

Taking Time Out to Reflect – Greg Dick of Perimeter Institute Talks to Stratford

I’ve been admittedly lost in business over the last year. Heads down and going hard.  But an appreciation for balancing work and lifelong learning has been fired up within me starting a couple of weeks ago when I downloaded a kobo book on my tablet called Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny

What’s really amped it up though was a recent talk given by Greg Dick of the Perimeter Institute during last night’s Avonova meeting at The Stratford Country Club.

I remember as a kid being relentlessly fascinated with books that I really couldn’t understand.  I don’t know why, I think it was just the mysteriousness of it all and mental adventures they took me on.  I desperately wanted to be an astronomer and I had images of planets and maps all over my room, illustrated books on physics stuffed under my bed.  Physics is damn puzzling and its inherent contradictions just tweak every part of my desire to learn more. I would plunge myself into that crazy mind of Stephen Hawking, listen to Richard Feynman’s lectures (if you haven’t listened to his audio tapes – you must), take comfort in Carl Sagan’s mission to at least try to explain these things to humbler minds, and laugh with Bill Nye as he “really” tried to dumb it down.

It’s great and I love it and it makes me feel very alive. 

Greg Dick (@greg_dick) of the Perimeter Institute’s talk to the Avonova group last night was all of these things and so much more.  In a series of slides, videos, demonstrations, and his own personal stories, Greg took a room full of Stratford’s most eager minds through the world of the Perimeter Institute.

With a $150 million donation by Mike Lazaridis, PI is now the world’s largest research centre in theoretical physics.  The architecture of the building is simply incredible, the minds buzzing in that building are some of the best in the world, and the award-winning outreach programs that Greg is a part bring it all to the wider community.   

Greg has a great talent for communicating the harder concepts in physics and makes you fully appreciate and love how far we’ve coming in understanding a world that we’re intimately apart of.  He also likes to celebrate how much we don’t know about our universe.  And we aren’t alone - scientists are just as much “in the dark” as we are.  It’s true – quantum mechanics doesn’t make sense – isn’t that cool? And what IS a particle (a seemingly innocent question Greg once posed to a group of scientists at PI that launched into a 3 hour forum on how to answer the question!)

It’s amazing to think that right in our very back yard at PI right now, world renowned scientists are trying to figure out how two of the best theories the human mind has conceived of  – quantum mechanics and relativity (i might add the theory of evolution to that select group) –- seem strangely at odds with the world as we experience it and with each other.

PI’s public lectures sell out in less than 5 minutes. But there’s a ton of information on their website and I encourage you to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

I have to say though – if you didn’t turn out for the talk you really missed out. What a great opportunity right here in Stratford to take a pause from everything else that occupies our time and just soak in the vastness of our world.  Thanks to Greg again for bringing to us his clear teachings and insights – and for trying to dumb down for us what the heck a Higgs Boson is.

Bob Telfer - @bobtelfer

Follow Greg Dick on Twitter - @greg_dick

Avonova on Twitter - @avonova

Avonova on LInkedIn - LinkedIn Group



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