The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 40

18 Steve Halperin misgivings from the community: a number of mathematicians feared that existing funds for research would be diluted by the needs of a new institute. If there were only two institutes for mathematics research in the entire United States (MSRI on the west coast and the IAS in Princeton), how could Canada with its much smaller resources support two? The NSERC committee, which included Bob Langlands, recommended that the Fields Institute be funded, but there was a condition, namely, that it be located at one of the three founding universities or at a point equidistant from all three. As this was an unrealistic idea, a second review committee was struck, chaired by Phillip Griffiths, Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies (1991–2003). Seven universities applied to be permanent hosts for the Fields Institute (Waterloo, McMaster, Toronto, Guelph, Windsor, Queen’s, and York), and the committee travelled to all these locations to evaluate their proposals. The travelling committee and its site visits have become legendary. Every competing university mustered support from its own mathematics community. I remember having lunch at the Faculty Club with David Andrews, Chair of Statistics, and Derek Corneil, Director of Research Initiatives. As we left the Club, we bumped into Rob Prichard, President of the University. At seeing the three of us together, Prichard inquired light-heartedly whether there was a conspiracy under way. We admitted guilt and explained to Prichard our hopes that the Fields Institute would come to Toronto. Prichard was immediately engaged. He saw the Fields Institute as part of his broader ambition to assert the pre-eminence of the University of Toronto as Canada’s leading research university. In Toronto, there were a number of other people responsible for convincing Rob Prichard to give his full support to having the Fields Institute on campus, among them Michael Finlayson, vice-president of Administration. Once convinced,