New quantum centre in Ontario to probe nature’s deepest and weirdest secrets


WATERLOO, Ont. — Canadian research will probe some of the deepest and strangest properties of the world within the atom in a new centre for the study of quantum matter.

Quantum matter is the basic science behind everything from the next generation of supercomputers to power lines that can transmit electricity without losing any of it.

The Clay Riddell Centre for Quantum Matter, announced by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont., is being funded by a $10-million donation from the Riddell Family Foundation.

Researcher Tim Hsieh says the work is a lot more grounded in everyday life than topics such as synthetic quantum systems and string theory may sound.

He says his research keeps him in constant touch with experimental scientists, yet he still relies on what he calls daydreaming — the ability to come up with new ideas that sound off-the-wall, but could lead to fresh ways of understanding the world.

Hsieh says the new centre is one of very few in the world at the forefront of such work.