Famed cosmologist gets visit from PM in Waterloo

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Science

Stephen Harper dropped in on famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking Tuesday bearing scholarly gifts - a post-doctoral scholarship for Canada.

The prime minister, following up on a budget commitment, ann-ounced 70 fellowships a year will be awarded with a total value of $45 million over five years.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (left) stands with Professor Stephen Hawking after a funding announcement at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ont. Tuesday. Photo by The Canadian Press

Waterloo, Ont. -

Stephen Harper dropped in on famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking Tuesday bearing scholarly gifts - a post-doctoral scholarship for Canada.

The prime minister, following up on a budget commitment, ann-ounced 70 fellowships a year will be awarded with a total value of $45 million over five years.

"We must invest in the people and ideas that will produce tomorrow's breakthroughs," Harper said.

"The Banting post-doctoral fellowships will give scholars in research institutions across the country the support they need to explore and develop their ideas to the fullest."

Hawking took up residence at the Perimeter Institute for theoretical physics in this southwestern Ontario city last month and will continue his work through July.

Hawking, who suffers from neuro-muscular dystrophy and is all but paralyzed, thanked Harper for his support of the sciences and said he was "delighted" with the scholarship program.

"By investing in young scientists, it is setting an example which other countries would do well to follow," Hawking said through the electronic device he uses to communicate.

The post-doctoral scholarships are worth $70,000 each for two years and will be awarded to both Canadians and others abroad to study in Canada.

The $45-million cost was initially announced in the federal budget in March.

Hawking was to have visited the Ontario facility last summer as a research chair, but illness forced him to cancel.

The author of the highly acclaimed "A Brief History of Time" retired from Cambridge University in England last year at age 67.

Harper thanked Hawking for coming to the Perimeter Institute and praised him as an "inspiration" to Canadian scientists.

The prime minister also ann-ounced $20 million to help establish five science, math and technology centres in Africa as part of the Next Einstein Initiative.

"This is a revolutionary approach to development," the prime minister said.

"It aims to nurture the brightest minds in Africa."

Hawking called science a "powerful unifier" for people in Africa.

"I believe that linking Africans to each other and to the world through science is one of the best investments one can make in Africa's future," he said.

Ghana, Ethiopia and Senegal are the next three countries to get a centre of excellence, adding to two already established in South Africa and Nigeria.

The aim is to build self-sufficiency and help African countries find their own solutions to their challenges.

Hawking also said he looked forward to returning often to the Perimeter Institute.

The institute is a public-private partnership that receives funding from the Canadian and Ontario governments as well as individual donors.

Organizations: Perimeter Institute, Cambridge University

Geographic location: Waterloo, Canada, Ontario Africa England Ghana Ethiopia Senegal South Africa Nigeria

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Charles
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    What a contrast between the two Steves.
    One got a brain that is brillant but very little
    body function.
    The other got a normal body but very little
    brain function(Just kidding for all you Harperites)

    Now if Harper could get the age of the universe
    right!!!

  • greg
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    Hawking forced to state Ottawa centre of universe, earth 6,000 years old and quite flat.

  • Anon
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I never thought Stephen Harper could look any more stupid than he already did, and then they put him in a picture with Dr. Hawking.

    Hey like... can we elect that guy to run the country? I mean at least he actually understands that conservation and sustainability mean more than just being sneaky about letting big oil companies get away with ecological murder (as they did with simco and the recent cancelation of tar sand leakage into watersheds study.)

    don't even get me started on cloud seeding

  • Whippersnapper
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Saucy Face that's because Harper is a dufus. An arrogant, totalitarian fool too.

  • Saucy Face
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    No matter how many world leaders and smart people Harper has his picture taken with, he always looks like a dufus. That Geroge W. Bush stare he always has on his face makes him look dumber than Cletus, the slack jawed yokel from The Simpsons.