Perimeter PhD graduate earns top honours for her creative research

Elizabeth (Beth) Gould has earned the W.B. Pearson Medal from the University of Waterloo for her PhD thesis, titled “New Views on the Cosmological Big Bang.” Gould completed her PhD at Perimeter Institute, under the supervision of Perimeter Associate Faculty member Niayesh Afshordi.

The W.B. Pearson Medal is presented annually to one PhD student in each department in the Faculty of Science in recognition of creative research as presented in the student’s thesis. Students are nominated by their PhD committee members at the time of their defence.

“Beth’s thesis focused on innovative ways in which physics could be different as we approach the big bang,” said Afshordi. “Could it be that quantum mechanics is ‘out of equilibrium,’ or that spacetime really has one more or less dimension? Or, could it be that history literally repeats itself, as our future is the same as our past (what we call ‘periodic time cosmology’)?”

After completing her PhD at Perimeter in September, 2017, Gould took up a postdoctoral research position at the University of Southampton. This September, Gould will join the new Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute at Queen’s University as a postdoctoral fellow.

“I am very proud of Beth,” said Afshordi. “She thinks and works ‘outside the box’ in so many ways, and has managed to carve her path in the academic world through her perseverance and creativity. I am glad that this has been recognized by the W.B. Pearson Medal, and I look forward to hearing about Beth’s future exciting discoveries.”


- Stephanie Keating




About Perimeter Institute

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 


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“[Gould] thinks and works ‘outside the box’ in so many ways.”

- Perimeter Associate Faculty member Niayesh Afshordi