Montreal Chapter member, Scott Binns, discusses how he became connected with the Weizmann community, his interest in science and technology and what he hopes to achieve as a volunteer
With a passion for community involvement, Scott Binns has been an active volunteer in his West Island of Montreal neighbourhood, playing a pivotal role in dealing with local flooding, school lunch programs for children, and helping local restaurants survive the challenges of the pandemic, among others. Having an interest in technology and science and wanting to volunteer in a way that could have a global impact, he would set his eyes on Weizmann Canada.
As a tax partner at Richter LLP, Scott was introduced to Weizmann Canada by his colleague, Harvey Sands, a Weizmann Canada National Board member, who told him about their work to support research at the Weizmann Institute of Science. With Scott leading the firm’s emerging technology group, Harvey knew he would be interested in the technological advancements coming from Weizmann.
After meeting with Susan Stern, Weizmann Canada’s CEO and Joanne Nemeroff, National Board member and President of the Montreal Chapter, to learn about getting involved, Scott was sold, saying, “I was hooked on the Weizmann approach and what they had to say. I said to myself this is what I want to do.”
A unique environment for collaboration and technology
The culture of collaboration at the Institute was a factor that immediately stood out to Scott when he first joined, learning how Weizmann can attract the best scientists and their families to live and work together on campus with other leading researchers.
From working across disciplines to allowing scientists to follow their curiosities, Scott suggests that this collaborative culture sets Weizmann apart. “The Weizmann environment causes collaboration by collision. And when you have that cross-pollination (so to speak) of those different disciplines, magic just happens.”
Scott’s initial interest was deeply rooted in the Institute’s comprehensive research and remarkable contributions to a diverse array of debilitating diseases that have personally impacted his life. These conditions encompass acute atopic dermatitis (eczema), scleroderma, dementia, and mental health at large, with a specific focus on neuroscience.
Scott is also interested in emerging technology, particularly quantum computing and artificial intelligence. While attending a reception last May to celebrate a gift from the Mike and Valeria Rosenbloom Foundation to advance positive neuroscience, Scott met Prof. Roee Ozeri, Weizmann’s Vice President for Development and Communications. Prof. Ozeri also leads his lab within the Department of Physics of Complex Systems, which built Israel’s first-ever quantum computer, which was unveiled in March 2022.
Making an environmental impact
With another opportunity to meet Weizmann researchers in person, Scott attended a luncheon in April with Dr. David Zeevi and PhD student Lior Greenspoon, from the Institute’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. While already aware of Weizmann’s commitment to sustainability, including the Institute for Environmental Sustainability flagship initiative, he was amazed by the research they presented. Learning about microbes that could be developed to eat plastic waste in our oceans and studies on the decline of wild animals, drove home to Scott that people are the ones causing these issues and as a society, we have the responsibility to solve them.
It’s what comes to mind most when Scott thinks about ‘science for the future of humanity.’ He believes that means improving people’s quality of life through improving their health and protecting the planet’s health. “Science for the future of humanity means an Earth that is there for us and future generations. It means helping people to be healthier and live better lives.”
As a volunteer, Scott is now focused on sharing the Weizmann Institute’s work with his own network. “I want to educate my peers and ecosystem so that they understand the magic behind Weizmann,” he says. “Weizmann is hope in action. But the only way they can take action is to have access to resources. We can educate people on everything Weizmann does to obtain resources.”
A firm believer that our lives extend far beyond our professional lives, Scott first describes himself as a husband to his high school sweetheart and a father to their two girls. Scott is also a music enthusiast, a competitive flag football player and an avid fan of the New York Giants.
Learn more about joining a local chapter to also become an invaluable Weizmann Canada volunteer.