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McGill, University of Montreal receive $26 million for space studies


Since he was a young boy, Lorne Trottier has been fascinated with space, science and technology.

"It tries to answer some of the deepest mysteries of humanity," the Montreal engineer and philanthropist said. "Where did we come from? How did the universe come to be? Is there life out there?"

A donation to two university space programs could potentially one day answer those questions.

The Trottier Family Foundation announced Monday it will donate $26 million to McGill University and the University of Montreal.

McGill's space institute will receive $16 million. Half of the money will be used to build a new annex to the program's existing building.

"It's going to encourage discussions, it's going to encourage synergy, interaction," Victoria Kaspi, director of the Trottier Institute for Space at McGill. "We'll be able to invite visitors from around the world to come here to Montreal to participate and work with us."

A total of $10 million will go to University of Montreal's Institute for Research on Exoplanets.

"Our mission is to find life elsewhere in the universe and that takes time," Rene Doyon, director of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets, said. "It may be in a few decades that this discovery will happen."

Both schools have decided to honour the Trottier family by changing their program names.

Going forward. it will now be called the Trottier Space Institute at McGill and the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the University of Montreal.

"It strengthens the bonds that already exists between the two universities," Simon Guichandut, a McGill PhD student, said. "Definitely it puts Montreal on the map, if it wasn't already, in terms of astronomy."

Both universities were involved in the launch of the James Webb space telescope. The most technologically advanced scientific instrument ever launched into space.

"We can call it a golden age and there’s new facilities also on the ground that work in synergy with James Webb," Doyon said. "It's a good time to be a graduate student these days, they have access to these incredible facilities." Top Stories

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