Backed by his $100 million donation, the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre opens Sept. 21 in Waterloo, Ontario, aiming to recreate the conditions that made AT&T Inc.’s Bell Labs a hive of technological innovation in the early 1960′s and laid the groundwork for the success of Silicon Valley.
The new research center is designed to produce breakthroughs in the science and technology of atom-sized matter. It’s “absolutely” going to be the Bell Labs of the 21st Century, Lazaridis said in a telephone interview. “That reality got clearer and clearer to me as we got closer to the ribbon-cutting.”
Lazaridis, who resigned as Chairman of struggling BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. in January, says he’s now devoting most of his time to help get the Quantum-Nano Centre off the ground. He wants to form a cluster of cutting-edge research with the decade-old Institute for Quantum Computing and Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, both founded with a total of more than $250 million of his own money and additional funds he helped raise. The facilities will be enough to lure the brightest minds in the field to Canada, Lazaridis said.