Wormholes, Eh? Hawking Threatens to Move to Canada

By Andrew Moseman | July 15, 2008 11:55 am

Stephen Hawking…weightlessOne of the world’s most famous scientists might be on the move.

Stephen Hawking, expert on time, black holes, and quantum gravity, is reportedly considering flying the coop at Britain’s Cambridge University after 46 years and moving to Canada.

Money is at issue: Hawking has failed to secure a $40 million expansion to the Cambridge Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. Meanwhile, the Perimeter Institute in Ontario, Hawking’s potential destination, is rolling in more dough—about $600 $300 million worth of public and private donations.

This story didn’t come out of nowhere, either. Last month the famous physicist ripped the British government for cutting £80 million—about $160 million—in research funding, saying it would hurt the U.K.’s global reputation, not to mention put many physics labs out of business.

Still, it’s an unusual circumstance: Disgruntled liberals are usually the people threatening to move to Canada, not eminent scientists.

Correction: The Telegraph originally reported the Perimeter Institute’s funding as £300 million, which we converted to $600 million (American). In fact, it should have been $300 million (Canadian), which equals about the same amount in American currency.

Image: NASA

MORE ABOUT: cosmology
  • andy

    If Hawking can further his research, then it is a plus for the human race no matter where he chooses to conduct it. I don’t understand why this is news other then a bit of “Canada Bashing”.

  • http://www.cantab.org Ed Strauss

    Statement from the University of Cambridge on Professor Stephen Hawking.
    15 July 2008

    Professor Peter Haynes, Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, said:

    Stephen Hawking has no plans to leave the University of Cambridge.

    Stephen has made an enormously important contribution to the University over the last 40 years, both as a scientific leader in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and, more generally, as an inspirational communicator of science and mathematics to the wider public.
    We expect this contribution to continue for several years to come.

    The Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and the University of Cambridge are working together with Stephen Hawking to establish activities that continue his important contributions in the long term. A very promising start has already been achieved through the launch of The Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, supported generously by Dennis Avery and George Mitchell.

    Stephen’s hope is that this will soon be established as the world’s leading centre for research in theoretical cosmology and indeed that, in due course, will expand into a large permanent institute for research into fundamental physics.

    Having such an institute in Cambridge, continuing in the tradition of Newton, Maxwell, Dirac and Stephen Hawking himself would be a fitting legacy of Stephen’s long-standing contributions to Cambridge and to science.

    The Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics will be very sorry to lose Neil Turok when he moves to become Director of the Perimeter Institute in October.

    Neil has played an important role in setting the future agenda for theoretical physics in DAMTP and in establishing the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. Professor Paul Shellard will succeed him as Director of the Centre.


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