Thousands take part Quantum-Nano Centre's grand opening
The opening of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre drew thousands of visitors to the University of Waterloo's newest and most sophisticated research facility.
Nearly 5,000 visitors explored the University of Waterloo's newest and most scientifically sophisticated building, the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, during its grand opening celebrations.
The building was officially opened with on Sept. 21, with an audience of 1,200 on hand for the ribbon-cutting of the new shared headquarters of the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.
"I am delighted to be here in Waterloo for this occasion of global scientific significance," said Prof. Stephen Hawking during the ceremony (watch his whole speech).
"This institution will advance our understanding of matter and movement, illuminating deep mysteries with the light of scientific discovery."
Mike Lazaridis, whose vision and philanthropy enabled the creation of the $160 million building at the University of Waterloo, said research at the Quantum-Nano Centre "will transform the ways we live, work and play."
Eight days after the formal ribbon cutting, on Saturday Sept. 29, the doors of the new facility were opened to the public for a full-day community open house that saw nearly 3,000 visitors explore the building.
The open house featured interactive exhibits and demos, lab tours, and public lectures by science celebrities Jay Ingram, Robert J. Sawyer and Chad Orzel. A panel discussion featuring Mike Lazaridis, IQC Executive Director Raymond Laflamme and other leading experts explored how science has reached the quantum frontier, and the exciting new directions research at the Quantum-Nano Centre will lead.
Saturday evening, Canadian science guru Jay Ingram and his band The Qubits performed an interactive rock concert at the uWaterloo Humanities Theatre, highlighted by onstage science demonstrations and loads of audience participation.
Martin Laforest, IQC's manager of scientific outreach, said the open house events "brought quantum science to the public that supports it, and will benefit from it."
"It was inspiring to see so many people of all ages engaged in cutting-edge science," said Laforest. "You could feel the excitement about the new Quantum-Nano Centre, and what it will mean for Waterloo Region, Canada and the world."
The next afternoon, the Quantum-Nano Centre was transformed into an orchestral concert hall when the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony performed the innovative music experiment, "Quantum: Music at the Frontier of Science."
The concert, a multimedia voyage along the surprisingly similar paths followed by physics and music over the past century, included narration, an eclectic musical program and an immersive visual experience.
Conducted by KW Symphony Musical Director (and "honorary quantum physicist") Edwin Outwater, the orchestra performed pieces that helped convey the history and themes of quantum science, by composers as diverse as Mozart and John Cage.
"Music and science are not as different as some people might think," explained IQC Executive Director Raymond Laflamme. "They both help us understand and interpret our world and ourselves. This concert shows how music and science are two sides of the same coin."
Laflamme described the entire slate of grand opening festivities as "hugely successful" and "just the beginning of many more exciting things yet to come at the new Quantum-Nano Centre."
Check out a gallery of photos from the grand opening events.