How did the Quantum Gravity Society come about?
It all began with conversations between Physicist Philip Stamp and Managing Partner of Vanedge Capital Moe Kermani (who has a physics background) in 2017/18, discussing plans that Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose and Philip had to host a major scientific archive in Vancouver. Due to the initial difficulties in engaging an academic institutionto to move things forward, Moe suggested involving the BC Business Community. This led to further discussions with Paul Lee, the Founder and Managing Partner of Vanedge Capital. Eventually, Philip, Paul, and Roger met in Oxford in July 2019, and had a 4-hour lunch discussion that set things in motion.
Over the next few lunch meetings, it was remarked by Paul that what was really needed was a “Quantum Gravity Institute” in Vancouver – an organization that could really make a difference in solving the most important scientific question of our time: to find the theory which will unite Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity in a theory of “Quantum Gravity”.
Philip organized a meeting in Nov 2019, inviting some 20 researchers; the meeting was also attended by Paul and Terry Hui, the President and CEO of Concord Pacific Developments. The next day, Terry and Paul organized a lunch involving Philip, Roger, Moe, Frank Giustra (President and CEO of the Fiore Group), and a number of other business leaders. Together, the group discuss how such an institute can be set up. Philip recalled, “Frank even brought with him a stack of books written by Roger!”
Very quickly after this meeting, “The Quantum Gravity Society” was formed as the first step to make the Institute a reality. The initial board members were Paul, Frank, Moe and Philip; Terry and Markus Frind (ex-CEO of PlentyOfFish) joined very soon afterwards, along with Physicists Roger Penrose, Bill Unruh, Birgitta Whaley, and most recently Abhay Ashtekar. The tasks set out by the group were to organize and fund the Gravity Archives project, to put in place plans for the future “Quantum Gravity Institute”, and to support research activities in this area – and to find ways of making Vancouver the place to be for these activities.