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Aldergrove-raised businessman behind international physics conference

Scientists and others gathered Aug. 17 to delve into the mysteries of the universe
World-renown physicists and experts gathered for the Quantum Gravity Society conference in Vancouver Aug. 17, 2022. Yanbei Chen, Markus Aspelmeyer, Jim Peebles, Terry Hui, Kip Thorne, Frank Giustra, Philip Stamp, Markus Frind, Birgitta Whaley, Clifford Cheung MIDDLE ROW Anatoly Svidzinksy, Henrik Ulbricht, Suzanne Staggs, Paul Lee, Abhay Asktekar, Moe Kermani, Bill Unruh, John Donoghue BACK ROW Daniel Carney, Jordan Wilson-Gerow, Steven Carlip, Slava Mukhanov, Peter Galison, Renate Loll, Alex Vilenkin, Robert Wald. (Quantum Gravity Society)

Frank Bucholtz/Special to the Aldergrove Star

Time travel and quantum gravity were among the subjects discussed at an in-person gathering of more than two dozen of the world’s top physicists in Vancouver last week.

The conference was organized by the Quantum Gravity Society (QGS), a new Vancouver-based organization. Among its founders is Frank Giustra, a businessman and philanthropist with strong roots in Aldergrove.

Giustra, who graduated from Aldergrove Secondary in 1976 and lived in the community for a number of years, has had an important career in business and finance. He spent a number of years in helping finance the mining industry as a stockbroker, and then went on to play a pivotal role in the founding and growth of Goldcorp. He was also chairman of Lions Gate Entertainment, and is currently president and CEO of Fiore Group of Companies.

He has set up the Giustra Foundation and with former U.S. president Bill Clinton, established the Clinton Giustra Enterprise partnership, which has been renamed Accesso. It builds social businesses in Latin American countries. Giustra is also involved with the International Crisis Group.

QGS is the latest of the many endeavours he has been involved with. He is among a number of business leaders from the Vancouver area who have formed the society and helped pay for the conference at the Westin Bayshore Inn.

The conference featured physicists who are world-renowned, including Nobel prize winners Kip Thorne, an expert on black holes, and Canadian-born James Peebles, a cosmologist. He was involved in development of the Big Bang theory. At the conference, the physicists discussed how to unify the incompatible theories of quantum mechanics and Einsteinian relativity.

These are responsible for most of the equipment that runs the world today, such as electronics, lasers, computers, cell phones and other technologies. Solving this scientific mystery could change understanding of time and gravity and lead to new technologies that could affect how people communicate, grow food, deliver health care, transport people and goods, and produce energy.

The physicists also took part in a photo shoot on Wednesday, Aug. 17, which replicated “the most intelligent picture ever taken.” This 1927 photo featured Einstein, Curie, Schrödinger, Bohr, Planck and other physicists attending the 1927 Solvay Conference on Physics in Brussels.


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