The beauty of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI) is that it brings together researchers from every part of the discovery pipeline, from basic science to translation, to make an impact on the real world. Housed on the beautiful University of British Columbia campus, SBQMI is a place that aims to shake up everything about how our electronic devices work.
“It’s called the Quantum Matter Institute because we deal with research in materials and matter in which quantum mechanics plays a really important role,” says SBQMI Founder George Sawatzky.
“It’s important because this kind of research will lead to the new kinds of materials, new kinds of devices, that basically are going to reform all of our future electronics and medical applications, medical diagnostics, and things of that kind.”
Making these big changes requires big ideas — the kind of ideas that are accelerated when great minds come together to combine a wealth of perspectives.
“We were driven by really big desire of creating a school of thought: a place where people could come to do research without boundaries, with open doors, sharing knowledge, sharing curiosity, in the spirit of discovery,” says Andrea Damascelli, Scientific Director at SBQMI.
“It gives us a chance to dream big,” adds Douglas Bonn, professor of physics and astronomy.
That’s where the team at SBQMI comes in to make those ideas and dreams into applications that impact the real world. From start to finish, the entire process is sculpted by minds that are thinking about the big picture.
“To tackle big problems, we have to bring together the different parts of the discovery process: making new materials, measuring and characterizing them, theory to describe and predict,” says Sarah Burke, associate professor of physics and astronomy.
“And then the dream for all of us, I think, is to have our research actually go somewhere and make it out into the world. And for that we need engineers who know that translation piece. Having them embedded in the Institute is really powerful because it allows us to change the way that we think about some of our problems.”
Collaboration on this scale takes vision, and Damascelli credits Stewart Blusson’s personal interest in discovery for enabling the SBQMI to excel in the field of quantum matter.
“What we can do here is way more than the sum of the parts,” adds Damascelli. “That really comes about because of that particular spirit, that particular approach to doing research.”