Mike Lazaridis, the man who pretty much invented the smartphone market and forever changed the way people send email, has just made another quantum leap into technology with the September 21 launch of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Center at the University of Waterloo, Ontario in Canada.
The university is where he, as a young engineering and computer science major, dropped out just a few credits shy of graduation to launch Research in Motion with two friends in 1984 and ultimately paving the way for his invention of the uniquitous BlackBerry --one of the most recognizable brands of the post-dot.com era.
This time, the white-haired Greek Canadian engineering wizard is gearing up for a new genearation of breakthroughs made possible by his generous $100 breakthroughs made possible by his generous $100 million donation to seed the 28,000-square-foot world class quantum-nano center, which is located smack in the middle of the university's campus.
According to Businessweek, its aim is to recreate the conditions that made ATT&T Inc.'s Bell Labs a hive of tecnological innovation in the early 1960s and laid the groundwork for the success of Silicon Valley.
According to Raymond Laflamme, the executive director of the Institute for Quantum Computing, this remarkable facility will give Waterloo scientists the cutting-edge tools and collaborative enviroinment needed to make revolutionary breakthroughs. "By harnessing the quantum properties of the nano-scale world, researchers will pioneer new technologies that will change the ways we work, communicate, play and live," he said.
Lazaridis has spent millions of dollars in hopes of solving one of technology's biggest questions: How we can continue to make computers smaller and smaller, far tinier than the eye can see?
Born in Constantinople, Turkey, to Greek parents, Lazaridis was five years old when his family moved to Canada in 1966. His father worked at a factory and his other was a seamstress. At age 12, he won a prize for reading every science book at the local public library. In high school he is remembered for tinkering in shop class, where he learned hwo to fix TV's and stereos.