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U of T president hails PM Harper’s support for Canadian leadership in cutting-edge astronomy and astrophysics

April 6, 2015

TORONTO, ON – Mer­ic Gertler, pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, expressed delight on hear­ing today that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will sup­port a major role for Canada’s lead­ing astronomers and astro­physi­cists in the Thir­ty Meter Tele­scope (TMT) project, an inter­na­tion­al ini­tia­tive to build the world’s most pow­er­ful tele­scope.

“I thank and con­grat­u­late Prime Min­is­ter Harp­er and his gov­ern­ment for this his­toric invest­ment in world-lead­ing Cana­di­an sci­ence,” said Gertler. “As a result, astronomers and astro­physi­cists at U of T and their col­leagues across the coun­try are now in a posi­tion to make their full con­tri­bu­tion to the most impor­tant dis­cov­er­ies of the com­ing decades – greater under­stand­ing of every­thing from how plan­ets, stars and galax­ies are formed to the very struc­ture of the uni­verse. The government’s deci­sion puts Cana­da where it should be – on the glob­al cut­ting edge of advanced research and inno­va­tion in this cru­cial, high-tech­nol­o­gy field.”

The fed­er­al government’s sup­port for Canada’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the TMT project enables Cana­di­an astronomers and astro­physi­cists to col­lab­o­rate as close­ly as pos­si­ble with their peers at lead­ing insti­tu­tions around the world, includ­ing Cal­tech, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, the Indi­an Insti­tute of Astro­physics, the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, and the Nation­al Astro­nom­i­cal Obser­va­to­ry of Japan. Canada’s con­tri­bu­tions will lead to the devel­op­ment of sophis­ti­cat­ed new opti­cal, mechan­i­cal, elec­tri­cal and soft­ware sys­tems, with impli­ca­tions for a range of indus­tries.

“The con­struc­tion of the TMT will require many years of effort across sci­en­tif­ic dis­ci­plines and man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors,” said Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-pres­i­dent, research and inno­va­tion. “This invest­ment will ensure that Cana­di­an exper­tise and man­u­fac­tur­ing capac­i­ty will be at the fore­front of this ambi­tious effort.”

U of T’s astronomers and astro­physi­cists are among the best in the world, and the uni­ver­si­ty is home to the Depart­ment of Astron­o­my and Astro­physics, the Cana­di­an Insti­tute for The­o­ret­i­cal Astro­physics (CITA) and the Dun­lap Insti­tute for Astron­o­my and Astro­physics. The uni­ver­si­ty is a lead­ing mem­ber of ACURA (the Asso­ci­a­tion of Cana­di­an Uni­ver­si­ties for Research in Astron­o­my), which has iden­ti­fied the TMT project as a “high­est pri­or­i­ty”.

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