University Donations | 26 million for astrophysics research

University Donations |  26 million for astrophysics research

A $26 million donation for astrophysics research at the University of Montreal will be announced this Monday. This is the largest donation in the history of the field to the Universities of Montreal (UdeM) and McGill.


“The Trottier family foundation already funded us, but for a very small amount and for a short period of time,” explains René Doyen, director of the Research Institute for Exoplanets (iREx) at UdeM, which receives a $10 grant. . “It has been more than 10 years now. The stability of this funding will allow us to seek out the best scientists in the field. »

Photo by Hugo-Sébastien Aubert, The Press

René Doyon, Director of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets

The McGill Space Institute will use half of the promised $16 million over 10 years to build a new building on University Street, which will be connected to the current building by a walkway. “We have a lot of cooperation with other universities and we want to attract more researchers, so we need more workplaces,” says Victoria Cospi, director of the institute.

Mme Cosby was interviewed from Boston, where he met with partners at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), specifically to discuss the CHIME radio telescope run by his team. It is a radio telescope that opened in British Columbia in 2017 and consists of 1000 antennas. The “Canadian Hydrogen Intense Mapping Experiment” is helping to better understand the mysterious “fast radio bursts” (FRBs), extremely high-energy emissions that last only a few milliseconds. The first FRB was not detected until 2007.

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iREx will be renamed the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets and the McGill Space Institute will add Trottier to its name.

A philanthropist with an interest in science

Lorne Trottier, co-founder of graphics card company Matrax, a philanthropist, was interested in science from an early age. “When I was 11 years old, I went to an older brother’s friend who was a fan of amateur radio,” says Mr. Trottier. He spoke to people all over the world. It fascinated me. I went to the public library to read everything I could. It was a Jewish public library, then located on Boulevard Mont-Royal – Mr. Trottier’s father is Franco-Ontarian and his mother is Jewish.

Photo by Catherine Lefebvre, special collaboration of Archives

Lorne Trottier

When was his first contact with outer space? Was Sputnik launched in 1957? “I was 10 years old, so I wasn’t interested in science yet. But I continued with space travel. I remember Alan Shepherd’s flight in May 1961.”

Multi-millionaires are planning a trip to space with companies like Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin. Mr. Is Trottier interested? “Nothing against me. But I’d rather fund research here than go to space. »

Some of McGill’s discoveries…

  • In 2020 NatureMagnetic instruments provide first evidence that end-of-life stars have collapsed in on themselves and acquired extremely high magnetic fields, thanks to CHIME
  • In 2019, in Astronomical Journal LettersPart of an international effort, the first image of a black hole was captured thanks to a network of telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope.

… and UdeM

  • In 2019, inJournal of AstronomyFirst detection of liquid water on an exoplanet located in the habitable zone of its solar system
  • In 2022, inJournal of AstronomyThe discovery of a water-covered “sea planet” is a first of its kind
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Learn more

  • 60
    Number of researchers recruited by the Trottier Institute for Exoplanets Research at the UdM since its establishment in 2014

    Source: irex

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