Saturday March 05, 2016

Victoria Kaspi, Herzberg Gold Medal winner

Dr. Victoria Kaspi

Dr. Victoria Kaspi (Owen Egan)

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Canada's most prestigious and valuable research prize, the Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, has been awarded to Dr. Victoria Kaspi, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics at McGill University.

Dr. Kaspi, the first woman to win the prize, has done ground-breaking work on neutron stars, the super-dense cinders left over after stars go supernova. In particular, she's explored exotic kinds of neutron stars, like pulsars and magnetars.

The award comes just as Dr. Kaspi is starting to explore a new astronomical puzzle, using a new Canadian Instrument. Using the new CHIME radio telescope in British Columbia, she'll be exploring the mysterious and little understood "fast radio bursts" - short but powerful flashes of radio waves - that come from outside our galaxy. Dr. Kaspi and her colleagues just released a study of a new observation of these fast radio bursts, which could help narrow down what their sources might be.

Related Links

Herzberg Gold Medal
CBC News story on Dr. Kaspi's award
Globe and Mail story on Dr. Kaspi's prize
Nature paper on new fast radio burst (FRB) detection
- McGill University release on FRB research
National Geographic story on FRB research
- CBC News story on FRB research