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First Principles: The Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science

by Howard Burton

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Howard Burton was a freshly-minted physics PhD from the University of Waterloo when a random job query resulted in a strange-albeit fateful-meeting with Research-in-Motion founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. Mike had a crazy idea: he wanted to fund a state-of-the-art science research facility and bring in the most innovative scientists from around the world. Its mission? To study and probe the most complex, intriguing and fundamental problems of science. Mike was ready to commit $100 million of his own money to get it started. But that wasn't his only crazy idea. He wanted Howard to run it. First Principles is part-biography and part lively rumination on the world-and the world of science in particular-by the engaging physicist and former director of the prestigious Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. Since its founding in 1999, the Institute has received more than $125 million in government grants, not including the eye-popping sum of $150 million that Mike Lazaridis has donated from his own personal fortune.… (more)
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Howard Burton was a freshly-minted physics PhD from the University of Waterloo when a random job query resulted in a strange-albeit fateful-meeting with Research-in-Motion founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. Mike had a crazy idea: he wanted to fund a state-of-the-art science research facility and bring in the most innovative scientists from around the world. Its mission? To study and probe the most complex, intriguing and fundamental problems of science. Mike was ready to commit $100 million of his own money to get it started. But that wasn't his only crazy idea. He wanted Howard to run it. First Principles is part-biography and part lively rumination on the world-and the world of science in particular-by the engaging physicist and former director of the prestigious Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. Since its founding in 1999, the Institute has received more than $125 million in government grants, not including the eye-popping sum of $150 million that Mike Lazaridis has donated from his own personal fortune.

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