News Overview

Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute Launched with $11-Million Gift

Posted: April 1, 2016

From left: UBC President Martha Piper, Stewart and Marilyn Blusson and Andrea Damascelli celebrate the creation of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. Photo: Don Erhardt

Vancouver-based diamond pioneer and philanthropist Stewart Blusson and his wife, Marilyn, have donated $11 million to quantum materials research at UBC. In recognition of the gift, the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute has been named in honour of the geology alumnus (BSc ’60).

“This institute is already bringing the next generation of top researchers to Canada and to UBC specifically,” said Stewart Blusson. “The thing about this kind of exploratory research is that you never know when something really significant is going to come out of it. By supporting the institute, we’ve planted the seeds.”

Quantum physics is the study of the unusual behaviour of matter and energy at the atomic level, where the laws of classical physics do not apply. Discoveries in this field are expected to lead to a revolution in computing, electronics, medicine and sustainable energy technologies.

The Blussons are the largest individual donors to UBC, having now contributed more than $60 million to the university. In 1998, they donated $50 million to support fundamental research and academic enquiry, benefitting more than 60 projects.

“The extraordinary leadership and foresight of Stewart and Marilyn Blusson have had a major impact on the university in its first 100 years through their support of emerging fields of research and infrastructure,” said UBC Interim President Martha Piper. “Their incredible generosity has helped our university mature into a globally-renowned hub for research. This latest gift will transform the future of quantum material research here at UBC.”

The Blussons’ gift has been leveraged to secure a total of $93 million for quantum research. In 2015, UBC was awarded $66.5 million from the federal government through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and $10 million to bring Harvard physicist Jennifer Hoffman to UBC as a Canada Excellence Research Chair.

“It’s been an incredible year for quantum research at UBC and we’re most grateful to the Blussons for their vision and support,” said Andrea Damascelli, director of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. “With this gift we are paving the way for potentially transformative advances in energy, computing power, and new materials.”

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