Stephen Hawking, the world’s best known physicist, has joined a “distinguished research chair” created for him by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics at Waterloo near here.

The Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics has been set up by BlackBerry—maker Research In Motion (RIM) — which is headquartered in Waterloo — to foster culture of innovation in Canada.

The physicist, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University — a position once held by Isaac Newton — started work at the Canadian institute Friday.

He will spend many weeks working alongside Canadian researchers and divide his time between Canada and Britain.

The legendary physicist will be officially welcomed into Canada by Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement and Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty at a ceremony June 20.

Announcing this, Neil Turok, director of the institute, said, “We are very happy to have Stephen here doing science with other researchers at Perimeter Institute. On June 20, he will take time out to be welcomed by our many public and private partners, including the governments of Ontario and Canada, and to give a special broadcast lecture.

“Stephen is an exceptional communicator, and we are delighted to be able to share his talk on television. We are also looking forward to his impressions of the ‘Stephen Hawking Centre at Perimeter Institute’ now under construction.”

After the ceremony, Dr. Hawking will make a special presentation on his work.

Accepting the Canadian institute’s offer last year, Dr. Hawking had said, “The Institute’s twin focus, on quantum theory and gravity, is very close to my heart and central to explaining the origin of the universe. I look forward to building a growing partnership between PI and our Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, at Cambridge.

“Our research endeavour is global, and by combining forces I believe we will reap rich rewards.”