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UBC celebrates Stewart and Marilyn Blusson and a major expansion of quantum materials labs

Thanks to the generosity of two of UBC’s most prominent donors, the University’s world-class quantum physicists have a new home for their groundbreaking research.

On July 4, UBC honoured Stewart and Marilyn Blusson for their support of a major expansion to the Vancouver campus’s Brimacombe Building, home of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. The new 20,000-square-foot wing, with its state-of-the-art laboratory space and equipment, including vibration-free facilities for microscopy experiments down to the subatomic scale, gives the Stewart Blusson QMI team the resources needed to break into new frontiers.

UBC President Santa J. Ono was joined by the Blussons to unveil a plaque as a tribute to their support. “The research happening today in the field of quantum physics is already changing the world,” said Prof. Ono. “And with the incredible support of Stewart and Marilyn Blusson, UBC will continue to be at the penetrating cutting edge of quantum physics for many years to come.”

“This facility is absolutely essential for our team’s research,” said Andrea Damascelli, Scientific Director of the Stewart Blusson QMI. “Before, we had too many experiments that couldn’t move forward without the proper facilities. The groundbreaking work of researchers with the institute – now all housed under the same roof – will be accelerated, thanks to the increased new capacity. We’re most grateful for Stewart and Marilyn’s unprecedented support to make this all possible.”

Stewart Blusson is a geologist, businessman and philanthropist who co-discovered Canada’s largest diamond mine, triggering billions in new exploration and deep crustal research. He is one of UBC’s most distinguished alumni, and he and his wife, Marilyn, are leading university donors. In 1998, they gave $50 million—the largest ever donation to the university—which greatly expanded UBC’s capacity to pursue basic research and innovation. They built on their generosity with the $11 million investment in the Quantum Matter Institute, which was named for Stewart in 2016.

Since its inception in 2010, the Stewart Blusson QMI has been recognized for world-class research, which has enabled the UBC Faculty of Science to attract a number of talented quantum physicists.

“This institute is bringing the next generation of top researchers to Canada and to UBC,” said Stewart Blusson. “We’re thrilled that this new facility will enable the kind of fundamental research that is so important for advancing modern science and technology. This is just the beginning.”

The Blussons’ gift has been leveraged to secure a total of $130 million for quantum research. In 2015, UBC was awarded $66.5 million from the federal government through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund for the Quantum Materials and Future Technologies Program.

Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute laboratory