Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski

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Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski
Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski 2018 judge for Forbes 30 under 30 in Science.jpg
Forbes magazine December 12, 2017.
Born (1993-06-03) June 3, 1993 (age 25)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
ResidenceEdison Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States
EducationPh.D. Candidate[1]
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University
Known forSpin Memory Effect.[2][3] PSZ Triangle[4][5]
AwardsInaugural MIT Freshman Entrepreneurship Award[6]
Scientific career
InstitutionsBoeing Phantom Works, CERN, NASA[7]
Doctoral advisorAndrew Strominger
InfluencesJeff Bezos[8]

Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski (born June 3, 1993) is an American theoretical physicist from Chicago, Illinois who studies high energy physics.[9] She describes herself as "a proud first-generation Cuban-American & Chicago Public Schools alumna."[7] She completed her undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is currently a graduate student at Harvard University. According to Google Trends, Pasterski was the #3 Trending Scientist for all of 2017.[10] In 2015, she was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 Science list, named a Forbes 30 under 30 All Star in 2017, and returned as a judge in 2018 as part of Forbes' first ever all-female Science category judging panel.[11]

Early life and education[edit]

Pasterski was born in Chicago on June 3, 1993 to Mark Pasterski and Maria E Gonzalez. Her father, of German-Polish descent, an attorney and an electrical engineer, encouraged her to follow her dreams.[12] She enrolled at the Edison Regional Gifted Center in 1998, and graduated from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in 2010.[13]

Pasterski holds an active interest in aviation. She first flew at age 9, with a certified flight instructor (CFI), Jay Maynard. She credited her grandpa for spending $10,000 on an old Cessna for her tenth birthday. She was inspired to become a pilot from a Canadian pilot she saw on the David Letterman show, who at age 14, was able to fly solo. At age 10, she began practicing her engine rebuilding skills with an engine rebuild stand and various parts bought from eBay. With the help of her mechanic, she was able to rebuild her Cessna’s engine. For two years (age 12-14) she worked on building a Zenith Zodiac standard-build airframe kit, which cost around $36,000. With the help of her dad’s funding and her own savings, she was able to pay for the cost of the Zenith Zodiac kit. Determined, she flew solo at age “14 enough” (actually she was 13 years and 364 days) in Canada with her Cessna 150.[14] To succinctly summarize her achievements in a timeline: she took her first flying lesson in 2003, aged 9, co-piloted FAA1 at EAA AirVenture Oshkoshin 2005 and started building the aforementioned kit aircraft by 2006, in which she completed her first U.S. solo flight (2009) after being signed off by her CFI. Jeff Bezos sent a letter to Pasterski the same day she flew solo in Canada, for a job offer. At age 16, she was able to fly as a test pilot on a Phase 1 test flight with the help of Tron Guy, who finally was able to sign off her age waiver to fly her kit airplane. The FAA were reluctant to do so because they did not trust her airplane kit, as there were at least ten deaths associated with the kit, despite her making over 300 modifications to the kit. Fortunately, she was able to complete her mission in her kit airplane, which she dubs her “baby.”


In her 2012 Scientific American 30 under 30 interview, Pasterski named among her scientific heroes Leon Lederman, Dudley Herschbach, and Freeman Dyson, and said she was drawn to physics by Jeff Bezos.[8] She has received job offers from Blue Origin, an aerospace company founded by's Jeff Bezos, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).[16]


Edison Regional Gifted Center targets fifth through eighth graders who are exceptional thinkers, reasoners and problem-solvers. Pasterski graduated with a 4.00 grade point average.[17]Illinois Mathematics and Science Academyis an extremely competitive school that serves to encourage students pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical education, from tenth through twelfth grade. The university fosters creativity and exploration by refraining from providing their students with grade point averages, giving them an opportunity to focus on separate research and internship openings. According to, they are the #1 public school currently in America.Pasterski, once again, graduated with a 4.00 grade point average.[18]

As a sophomore at MIT, Pasterski was part of the CMS(Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. CMS is a physics programmed detector that is built around a solenoid magnet, and used for a variety of physics-related matters.[19] The Large Hadron Collider is the strongest particle accelerator to ever exist.[20] She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in high energy physics, the study of time, space, matter and energy; particularly, how all those variables coexist and affect one another. She is under the supervision of Andrew Strominger, who is also a prominent figure in the field of high energy physics. He is well known for Calabi-Yau compactification, a theory of how an extra six dimensions might be arranged in accordance with string theory. She received academic freedom from Strominger in the Spring of 2015 based upon Pasterski et al's 2014 discovery of "spin memory effect" which may be used to detect or verify the net effects of gravitational waves. After being granted that academic freedom, she would complete the Pasterski–Strominger–Zhiboedov Triangle for electromagnetic memory in a 2015 solo paper that Stephen Hawking cited in early 2016, in a paper named "Soft Hair on Black Holes," cowritten with Strominger.[21] In her newly proposed gravitational memory thesis, Pasterski and her colleagues consider light rays to measure spin memory. In the scientific literature, she deduces that angular-momentum-carrying radiation induces a time delay, that affect counterclockwise and clockwise orbits.

On her website,, Pasterski linked a “Media Fact Check Sheet” where she outlines her academic journey of being accepted to MIT. Though she graduated from MIT in only three years, she did not enter with any previous college credits. Pasterski was initially denied December 2009 for early admission. March 2010, she was waitlisted to MIT, but unfortunately rejected from Harvard a month later. A Harvard Nobel Laureate offered her a lab position at Harvard Physics for Professor Lene Hau. With the help of 2 Nobel Laureates, a “Guggenheim Medal winner, a Secretary of the Air Force, and MITei’s Peggy Udden, she was admitted to MIT of the waitlist, and offered admission into their grad program. One day after, Harvard admitted her into their grad program. She was the first girl to win the MIT Physics Orloff Scholarship award, and received the highest overall GPA: 5.00 (which she states is different than a 5.0 which one can achieve with all A-s, and 1 B-. As a sophomore, Pasterski was part of the CMSexperiment at the Large Hadron Collider.[8] She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in high energy physics under the supervision of Andrew Strominger.[22] She received academic freedom from Strominger in the Spring of 2015[23] based upon Pasterski et al's 2014 discovery of the "spin memory effect" which may be used to detect or verify the net effects of gravitational waves.[24] After being granted that academic freedom, she would complete the Pasterski–Strominger–Zhiboedov Triangle for electromagnetic memory in a 2015 solo paper[25] that Stephen Hawking cited in early 2016.

Media coverage[edit]

Hawking’s citation of Pasterski’s solo work on the PSZ Triangle was publicized by actor George Takei when he referenced her on his Twitter account with her quote, "'Hopefully I'm known for what I do and not what I don't do.' A poignant sentiment."[26] The Steven P. Jobs Trust article included in the tweet has been shared 1,200,000 times.[27]

Pasterski’s 2016 work in promoting the Let Girls Learn initiative has been recognized by an invitation to the White House,[28] a congratulatory message from the White House played on network television,[29] as well as a two page spread in Marie Claire's January 2017 issue with former First Lady Michelle Obama.[30]

Pasterski's continuing efforts to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for girls in Cuba has been recognized by the Annenberg Foundation.[31][32]

Pasterski's 2017 work in promoting STEM education for girls in Russia has been recognized by the U.S Embassy in Moscow[33] and by the Moscow Polytech.[34]

International print and television coverage of Pasterski's work has appeared in Russian, Polish, Czech, Spanish, German, Hindi and French: Russia Today, Poland's Angora magazine, DNES magazine in the Czech Republic, People en Espanol, Jolie in Germany, Vanitha TV in India, Madame magazine in France, le Figaro magazine Paris, Femina magazine in Switzerland, and Marie Claire Espana.[35][36][37] In 2016, R&B singer Chris Brown posted a page with a video promoting her.[38] Forbes and The History Channel ran stories about Gonzalez Pasterski for their audiences in Mexico and Latin America, respectively.[39][40]

Pasterski has her own website called which lists all the universities that she has presented at, many of her physics publications and her academic achievements. She has a Youtube channel where she posts about a range of things, not only concerning her studies, but playing a role in the inspiration of young women in STEM fields.

Awards, publications, and honors[edit]

Public Honors[edit]

  • 2018, Albert Einstein Foundation Genius 100 Visions Project — "One of the 100 greatest innovators, artists, scientists and visionaries of our time."
  • 2018, TIME Inc. Instyle Badass Woman
  • 2018, Helena Group
  • 2018, Discovery Canada's International Women's Day honoree.
  • 2017, Silicon Valley Comic Con Headliner
  • 2017, Grand Central Terminal Ceiling Projection
  • 2017, Annenberg Foundation CUBA IS Exposition
  • 2017, Forbes 30 under 30 All Star Alumni
  • 2017, Young Women’s Honors Education/Genius awards
  • 2016, Marie Claire Young Women Honors Recipient: “The Genius”
  • 2016, Steven P. Jobs Trust’s Ozy ‘Rising Star’
  • 2015, Life+Style ‘Remarkable Woman’ (cover story)
  • 2015, Forbes’ 30 under 30 2015: Science
  • 2010, Illinois Aviation Trades Association Industry Achievement Awar


  • 2017, Gluon Amplitudes as 2d Conform (PRD)
  • 2017, A Conformal Basis for Flat Space Amplitudes (PRD)
  • 2016, Flat Space Amplitudes and Conformal Symmetry of the Celestial Sphere (PRD)
  • 2015, Asymptotic Symmetries & Electromagnetic Memory (JHEP)
  • 2015, Higher D Supertranslations and Weinberg’s Soft Graviton Theorem (AMSA)
  • 2014,Low’s Subleading Soft Theorem as a Symmetry of QED (PRL Editors' Suggestion)
  • 2014, Semiclassical Virasoro Symmetry of the Quantum Gravity S-Matrix (JHEP)

Academic Awards[edit]

  • 2017, National Science Foundation Fellow
  • 2016, MIT Physics ‘Rising Star”
  • 2015, Hertz Foundation Fellowship
  • 2014, Harvard Smith Fellow
  • 2014, World Quantitative and Science Scholar
  • 2013, Harvard GSAS James Mill Peirce Fellow
  • 2013, MIT Physics Department Orloff Scholarship Award
  • 2013, Harvard Physics Purcell Fellowship
  • 2012, Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Young Researcher
  • 2012, Scientific American 30 under 30
  • 2012, SU-MIT Scholar, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2011, MIT Freshman Entrepreneurship Award (inaugural)
  • 2010, Illinois All-State Academic Team ‘Top of the World’ Scholar


  1. ^ "Forbes Profile". Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  2. ^ Pasterski, Sabrina; Strominger, Andrew; Zhiboedov, Alexander (February 21, 2015). "New Gravitational Memories". arXiv:1502.06120 [hep-th].
  3. ^ "Memories, asymptotic symmetries, and soft theorems". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  4. ^ Pasterski, Sabrina (May 4, 2015). "Completing the Triangle for EM". arXiv:1505.00716 [hep-th].
  5. ^ David A. Nichols. "Spin memory effect for compact binaries in the post-Newtonian approximation" (PDF). Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  6. ^ "New Freshman Awards recognize exceptional first-year students". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Hertz Foundation Profile". Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c 30 Under 30: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Scientific American profile
  9. ^ "Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature". Harvard University. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "Google Trends 2017". Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "30 Under 30 2018". Forbes. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "Wondering Where The Future of Aviation Is? Wonder No More! Meet Ms. Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski - Midwest Flyer – General Aviation Magazine". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  13. ^ "Sabrina Pasterski '10 Profiled by Chicago Tribune". IMSA 360. Archived from the original on 2016-04-09.
  14. ^ " (Sabrina Pasterski's Website)" (PDF).
  15. ^ (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Who's That Girl: Sabrina Pasterski". Hearst UK. 2016. Archived from the original on February 19, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  17. ^ (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ "Sabrina Pasterski". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  23. ^ "Colloquy Magazine Spring 2015 - Harvard University - The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  24. ^ "Spin memory effect for compact binaries in the post-Newtonian approximation" (PDF). Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  25. ^ "Asymptotic Symmetries and Electromagnetic Memory" (PDF). Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  26. ^ Takei, George (January 20, 2016). "Twitter feed". Twitter.
  27. ^ Halime, Farah (January 12, 2016). "This Millennial Might Be The New Einstein". Steven P. Jobs Trust. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  28. ^ "White House China Room". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  29. ^ "Young Women's Honors". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  30. ^ Hauser, Brooke (December 12, 2016). "Young Women's Honors". Marie Claire. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  31. ^ "Cuba Is Exhibition September 9, 2017 through March 4, 2018". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  32. ^ "Delegation to Cuba" (PDF). Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  33. ^ "Spaso House". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  34. ^ "Gorky Park Polytech Fest". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  35. ^ "RT Watching the Hawks". RT. February 4, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  36. ^ "Angora". January 31, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  37. ^ "DNES". March 14, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  38. ^ Brown, Chris (2016). "There's A New Einstein In Town With Answers To The Universe's Biggest Mysteries – And She's A Millenial From Chicago". Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  39. ^ Gasca, Leticia. "¿Quién es Sabrina Pasterski?". Forbes Mexico. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  40. ^ "¿La nueva Einstein? Una joven física latina asombra al mundo de la ciencia". The History Channel (Latin America). Retrieved April 5, 2016.

External links[edit]