Astrophysics on to new horizons: 26 million {dollars} for McGill College and the College of Montreal

The McGill Space Institute and the Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montréal are leading the race in astrophysical research, contributing to our knowledge of exoplanets, fast radio bursts, the universe beyond the visible, and other mysteries of the cosmos. Their extensive work and efforts to recruit the brightest minds are now gaining tremendous impact through exceptional donations from the Trottier Family Foundation.

These visionary donations, totaling $26 million, coincide with the beginning of an era of exciting discoveries in astrophysics, due in part to the development of powerful telescopes such as the CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) radio telescope and the Space Telescope James Webb. Thanks to these scientific breakthroughs, research teams are now able to explore the outer reaches of the solar system – and far beyond – like never before. In addition to increasing our knowledge of the universe, research in astrophysics has helped develop transformative technologies that greatly benefit society, such as telecommunications satellites, GPS, high-performance cameras, and high-speed wireless internet.

The McGill Trottier Space Institute

The McGill Space Institute receives a $16 million donation, half of which will be used to develop an addition to its current University Street building. The other tranche serves to finance graduate scholarships and postdoc scholarships as well as the expansion of existing programs and research funding. The Space Institute’s research teams are behind groundbreaking advances, including groundbreaking discoveries in neutron stars and fast radio bursts, by the award-winning astrophysicist, physics professor, and director of the institute, which has the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology affiliated with it.

In recognition of this extraordinary gift, the McGill Space Institute will be renamed the McGill Trottier Space Institute.

The Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the University of Montreal

The Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montréal (iREx) receives a $10 million donation that allows it to continue its activities. iREx scientists are at the forefront of exoplanet research and have made discoveries that have fundamentally changed our knowledge of worlds outside our solar system. Led by astrophysicist René Doyon, physics professor and principal investigator of Canada’s contribution to the James Webb mission, the iREx has developed state-of-the-art scientific instruments, including an infrared camera that allows us to obtain unprecedented images of the ‘space. In addition, iREx puts a lot of effort into sharing knowledge with audiences of all ages. The large donation from the Trottier Family Foundation will allow the scientific team to continue their research to discover signs of life outside the solar system. In recognition of this extraordinary gift and the support of Lorne Trottier and the Trottier Family Foundation since its inception, iREx will be renamed the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets.

“The passionate researchers scanning the skies have already greatly expanded our horizons,” said Université de Montréal rector Daniel Jutras. As we explore the mysteries of the universe, we realize the full beauty and fragility of our planet. The unprecedented support offered to Montreal scientists by Mr. Trottier and the Trottier Family Foundation is also a support for the preservation of our ecosystems. It is a gift whose impact future generations will feel. »

“We are very grateful to Lorne Trottier, a graduate of McGill University, and to the Trottier Family Foundation for their generous support of the university and its science and engineering faculties, which over the years have helped advance our knowledge of the world and universe enrich. said Christopher Manfredi, rector and acting vice chancellor of McGill University. This latest donation, shared between two of the city’s major universities, will solidify Montreal’s status as a leading center for astrophysical research in Canada and internationally.”

“The Trottier Family Foundation is pleased to support the excellent work of the Trottier Space Institute at McGill and the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the University of Montreal. Science has brought untold benefits to mankind,” said Lorne Trottier, co-founder of Matrox, an undisputed reference in the field of imaging and video technologies, while emphasizing that astronomy is the first science to be born. “Copernicus, Galileo and Newton laid the foundations for the scientific revolution that changed our lives in so many ways. Demystifying the laws of the universe and its origins leads to discoveries and innovations that are useful and satisfy our deep curiosity,” he added.

Driven by a long-standing passion for science and technology, Lorne Trottier holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from McGill University, as well as several honorary doctorates from him alma mater and from the University of Montreal. His family foundation funded exoplanet research at iREx and supported many major institutions on the island of Montreal. The foundation has supported astronomy education for young people across Canada and funds numerous initiatives to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics across the country.

The generosity of the Trottier Family Foundation has left an indelible mark on McGill University, such as the on-campus Lorne M. Trottier building named in honor of the philanthropist, the establishment of institutes within the science and engineering faculties, and funding the public evidence awareness-raising initiatives.

The McGill Trottier Space Institute has grown tremendously since its inception in 2015 thanks to the support of the Trottier Family Foundation. This multidisciplinary center brings together researchers in astrophysics, planetary science, atmospheric science, astrobiology and other astrophysical disciplines at McGill University. His research teams discovered thousands of fast radio bursts and established magnetars (magnetic stars) as one of the likely origins of this mysterious phenomenon, helped capture the first image of a black hole with a series of telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope, and developed a device to detect it of microbial life for use in space missions.

Since its inception in 2014, the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at UdeM has recruited more than 60 researchers who are among the most renowned in their respective fields related to the exploration and understanding of extraterrestrial worlds outside our solar system. iREx members have been drawn to the greatest discoveries in astrophysics over the years – whether we remember the first discovery of water on a planet, K2-18b, in its star’s habitable zone in 2019, or the discovery of TOI think in the year 2022 -1452 b, a candidate for a “sea planet” orbiting the earth. iREx scientists are also behind the design and development of state-of-the-art astronomical instruments that have been used in world-class telescopes around the world and in space.

About McGill University

Founded in 1821 in Montreal, Quebec, McGill University is Canada’s largest medical university. It is usually among the best universities in the country and also internationally. It is a world-renowned higher education institution running research activities of three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 vocational schools and 300 study programs, enrolling more than 39,000 students, including more than 10,400 graduate students. McGill students come from more than 150 countries around the world and their 12,000 international students make up 30% of the student body. More than half of McGill students consider having a native language other than English, and nearly 20% of our student clientele are native speakers of French.

About the University of Montreal

The Université de Montréal is one of the largest research universities in the world and ranks among the top five French-speaking universities. With its affiliated schools Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal, UdeM raises more than half a billion dollars in research funds annually, making it one of the leading centers of Canadian university research. It brings together nearly 70,000 students, 2,300 professors and researchers, and a network of 450,000 active graduates around the world.

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