Down to a science - Examining Innovation150
Fusing scientific exploration with the energy and excitement of a traveling festival, the Innovation150 Power of Ideas Tour, a Signature Initiative of Canada 150, is set to bring our country’s past, present and future achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to your doorstep in 2017.
Innovation150 is a partnership between five of Canada’s leading science outreach organizations: Actua, the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, the Canadian Association of Science Centres, the Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation, and leading the pack is the internationally-renowned Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Perimeter’s outreach successes include public festivals, lectures, classroom resources distributed in over 60 countries, and advanced digital learning. Greg Dick, Perimeter’s Director of Educational Outreach, explains the theory behind The Power of Ideas Tour.
- What will visitors experience at the Power of Ideas Tour?
The tour is a chance for Canadians to celebrate our country’s innovative past and spark ideas for the future. Picture this: a whole convoy rolls into 80+ towns and remote villages across the country. First, a maze-like science exhibit from Perimeter comes out of the back of a truck, and sets up in a gymnasium or local science centre. In the exhibit youth learn about some of our greatest thinkers and explore the incredible power of the human mind. Then, a MakerMobile from Actua comes along—literally a moving makerspace filled with exciting technology like 3D printers, where youth can experiment, design and create their own inventions.
In larger cities, these two activities join a massive exhibition on quantum technologies, a speaker series, and fun events from partners in different regions—it will be a major festival celebrating innovation and Canada’s 150th!
- Huge news broke in the scientific community recently (February 2016) with the discovery of gravitational waves—are we going to see newer breakthroughs like this from the tour?
At Perimeter, we bring cutting edge, modern physics right to the forefront for students, teachers, and the public. When the gravitational waves announcement was made, it was being streamed live [at our office], and a cheer went out—it was an amazing place to be!
Right after the announcement, we instantly sent out in-classroom resources to teachers across the country, and released videos and information online. We wanted to capture that excitement and bring it to life. The Power of Ideas Tour will celebrate the big ideas behind these sort of monumental discoveries, and spur new ideas that may very well contribute to breakthroughs in the future.
- Can you describe the Quantum Exhibition?
From the Institute for Quantum Computing, this exhibition will be an amazing 4,000 sq. ft. experience that shares the wonders of the quantum world and the emerging quantum technologies that will shape our future.
To set the stage for the exhibition: the First Quantum Revolution gave us the digital world we live in. As time goes on, we’re getting more and more processing power—our cell phones outstrip the computing powers that got us to the moon in the late sixties. The Second Quantum Revolution will have an exponentially bigger impact—this exhibition is going to walk us into that world in a way that’s going to encourage kids to dream of a brighter, different future that is still unimaginable.
- Could Innovation150 lead to job opportunities for Canadians?
Innovation is deeply entrenched in Canadian culture—from the invention of the smartphone, to basketball, to the bone marrow compatibility test, to Medicare. In order to continue this legacy, we have to foster new ideas and equip Canadians with the skills to realize them. This is why we’re so excited about the partnership, it brings together five of our country’s top science outreach organizations to not only inspire Canadians, but also build their capacity and confidence in creating a brighter future – and that could very well mean jobs.
- What kinds of ideas might come out of Innovation150?
We hope Innovation150 will encourage Canadians to share their aspirations for the future. It could be climate change solutions, new ways to improve social services or infrastructure at home or abroad, or even a creative invention for something in your own home. The possibilities are endless!
Our youth today are extremely socially responsible and aware. Only a few months ago, there was an 18-year-old from BC, Ann Makosinski, who won a $50,000 climate change grant for inventing technologies that are powered by body heat. Imagine the impact on our planet if all of our smartphones could be charged in our pocket!
The Power of Ideas Tour is making its way across Canada to a city near you as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Watch for more news and updates on Innovation150 and The Power of Ideas Tour coming to a location near you!
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