Government of Canada Celebrates Partnership to Support Exceptional Theoretical Physicist

News Release

Asimina Arvanitaki will push the frontier of physics thanks to an $8-million investment

April 28, 2016 – Waterloo, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, joined the leaders of the Perimeter Institute and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and members of the wider science community today to congratulate physicist Asimina Arvanitaki on being named the first Stavros Niarchos Foundation Aristarchus Chair in Theoretical Physics, a remarkable achievement.

An $8-million investment, shared equally between the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Perimeter Institute, will support Dr. Arvanitaki’s leading-edge research into the universe at its most fundamental level.

Using technologies and techniques from other fields of physics, Dr. Arvanitaki designs novel experiments that can provide insight into the nature of dark matter, particle interactions and other deep questions about the origins of the universe and the behaviour of the elements. This investment will enable new avenues of research and further collaboration between Dr. Arvanitaki and her colleagues at Perimeter and around the world.


"The Government of Canada is committed to promoting equity and equality for women in all fields of work and study, including science. With role models such as Dr. Arvanitaki, Perimeter’s first female research chair, young women will be inspired to consider a career in research and make discoveries that further our collective understanding of our world and universe."

– Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

"Perimeter is world renowned for its scientific excellence. I congratulate Dr. Arvanitaki on her new role and the Institute partners on breaking new ground with the appointment of this chair. Her new role demonstrates that there are great opportunities for young, emerging talent to think big and be at the leading edge of science."

– Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism

"Asimina is an exceptional physicist. Her ideas bridge theory and experiment in new and creative ways. Hers is a rare talent, needed now more than ever when the field is on the threshold of revolutionary advances. Thanks to this new investment from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Asimina will have opportunities to pursue breakthrough discoveries."

– Neil Turok, Director, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

"Asimina’s work is on the cutting edge of scientific research and carries profound implications for us all. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation recognizes the importance of pure research and the need to support it. But Asimina’s work is also significant in ways that transcend science and research. As a young scientist, she will be a great inspiration to the youth in her native Greece, who are pursuing their dreams amid the current crisis. Furthermore, Asimina’s appointment is a manifestation of one of Perimeter’s most defining characteristics, namely its commitment to attracting young scientists just entering their peak years of research productivity and providing them with the proper environment and resources to flourish and make new and innovative scientific contributions."

– Eva Polyzogopoulou, Program Coordinator, Education, Stavros Niarchos Foundation

"The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has given us the opportunity to pursue some of the big questions in physics, and we will do our best to help find the answers. This will also help us strengthen research and training ties to Greece, where there is a lot of untapped potential. I am proud to be recognized by an organization that has contributed so much to Greece and the world."

– Asimina Arvanitaki, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Aristarchus Chair, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Quick facts

  • On April 15, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Government of Canada will invest $50 million over five years in the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics so that it can continue its world-leading research, training and educational outreach.
  • Dr. Asimina Arvanitaki joined the Perimeter Institute in 2014, after earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Athens and a graduate degree from Stanford University. Before starting at Perimeter, she was a research associate at the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics.
  • Stavros Niarchos was considered one of the most innovative and successful businessmen of the 20th century. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation continues his legacy to support causes in Greece and internationally in the fields of education, social welfare, health, and arts and culture.
  • The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Aristarchus Chair is named after Aristarchus, an ancient Greek mathematician and astronomer who proposed the first-known model placing the sun at the centre of the solar system.

Associated links

Follow Minister Duncan on social media.
Twitter: @ScienceMin
Instagram: sciencemin


Véronique Perron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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