In most cases, you need to make a huge donation to have a building named after you. The Perimeter Institute, however, made no such demands on its new Stephen Hawking Centre because, well, he's Stephen Hawking.

The renowned physicist, of course, is known for pushing the frontier of science, mentoring and inspiring younger generations, communicating discoveries to the public, and appearing in many television shows. (My favorites: playing poker on Star Trek: The Next Generation and giving sage advice on his first appearance on The Simpsons, after which Homer famously responds, "Larry Flynt is right!")

The Perimeter Institute, based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, is similarly devoted to research, training and outreach (if not to appearing on TV shows) and found it fitting to name its $29 million expansion, with space for at least 150 new researchers, after the British physicist (with his blessing). In a statement, Hawking noted that "theoretical physics has been the most successful and cost effective in all of science. Where would we be today without Newton, Maxwell and Einstein?"

As part of center's opening this past September, the institute created this video tribute to Hawking, covering his life and contributions in under five minutes.


The tribute preceded a 50-minute panel discussion on Hawking and the power of ideas, with contributions from Perimeter Institute director Neil Turok, astronaut Julie Payette and actor William Shatner, who I'm guessing was involved for his work on Star Trek rather than for T.J. Hooker.