New Perimeter Institute Lecture Series

at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre

The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre is beginning to plan the next series of public lectures from Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) this spring, just as the many snowbirds return home to Saugeen Shores and surrounding areas.  

The past six-lecture series, drawn from the highly successful presentations in Waterloo, were shown last fall via DVD on the big screen in the museum's 114-seat Bruce Power Theatre.  The talks were among the most successful events at the theatre, with attendance averaging 80-90 people per event over six Wednesday afternoons.

"This stimulating lecture series is truly a wonderful program and a great way to highlight the importance of our museum as a cultural centre," says Barbara Ribey, museum director/curator.

"We are very fortunate to have Perimeter Institute as a partner, right in our backyard. We hope that this partnership will continue to grow and that more communities will benefit from Perimeter's exceptional outreach program.

Nancy White, the museum's program coordinator echoes many of those positive sentiments.  "It has been gratifying to see the attendance increase with each viewing. This shows there is a great desire for knowledge in a relaxed setting. It has been a joy to work with our local volunteers to get this program up and running. We hope it will continue for a long time to come."

A survey at the last event indicated a huge thirst for more presentations, with an overall 100 per cent approval rating. All of the 48 people who completed the survey said they wanted more, with most requesting lectures in both spring and fall.

When asked: "Have the lectures piqued my interest in today's science?" 36 said their interest had been piqued "a great deal", while 10 said "somewhat", and two indicated no response. Every question asked resulted in very positive numbers.

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Comments ranged from "Excellent! Keep it up!" to the lectures "have raised the cultural bar in the area."
Most people said they enjoyed the variety of topics.  One attendee, who traveled 25 miles to view the lectures, said "it's great to be able to participate in the Perimeter Institute at a distance."  Another remarked that while "the subject matter sometimes was very complex, it was all very interesting." Even though these same public events are available to view on demand through Perimeter's popular website, many people said they enjoyed sharing in a collective experience with good friends and family as well as viewing the talks on such a large screen with superior image and sound.

John Matlock, Director of External Relations and Educational Outreach at Perimeter Institute, says the live lectures in Waterloo Region regularly draw over 600 people per event from a wide geographic area and that "it is very gratifying to extend the experience to our neighbours in Bruce County and see such a wonderful response."  He added that "PI's outreach team really appreciates the dedicated volunteers and partnerships in Bruce County that make this possible as well as the many attendees who take the time to understand challenging ideas in science and discover the joys of research and innovation.  

Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research and educational outreach organization where international scientists cluster to push the limits of our understanding of physical laws and calculate new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter and information.  The Institute also provides a wide array of educational outreach activities for students, teachers and members of the general public across the country and around the world.   

The $13-million museum and cultural center was opened two years ago to serve communities throughout Bruce County and visitors from beyond.   The partnership with PI will provide for new lecture playbacks every other Wednesday for a three-month period, resuming in the spring.    

Wayne MacDonald