Victoria Michelle Kaspi
June 30, 1967
|Alma mater||McGill University (BS)|
Princeton University (PhD)
|Known for||Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment|
California Institute of Technology
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Thesis||Applications of pulsar timing (1993)|
|Doctoral advisor||Joseph Taylor|
|Doctoral students||Anne Archibald|
Early life and education
Kaspi was born in Austin, Texas, but her family moved to Canada when she was seven years old. She completed her undergraduate studies at McGill in 1989, and went to Princeton University for her graduate studies, completing her PhD in 1993 supervised by Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Joseph Taylor
Career and research
After positions at the California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she took a faculty position at McGill in 1999. At McGill, she held one of McGill's first Canada Research Chairs, and in 2006 she was named the Lorne Trottier Professor of Astrophysics. She is also a Fellow in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Kaspi's observations of the pulsar associated with supernova remnant G11.2−0.3 in the constellation Sagittarius, using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, showed that the pulsar was at the precise center of the supernova, which had been observed in 386 CE by the Chinese. This pulsar was only the second known pulsar to be associated with a supernova remnant, the first being the one in the Crab Nebula, and her studies greatly strengthened the conjectured relationship between pulsars and supernovae. Additionally, this observation cast into doubt previous methods of dating pulsars by their spin rate; these methods gave the pulsar an age that was 12 times too high to match the supernova.
Kaspi's research with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer showed that soft gamma repeaters, astronomical sources of irregular gamma ray bursts, and anomalous X-ray pulsars, slowly rotating pulsars with high magnetic fields, could both be explained as magnetars.
She also helped discover the pulsar with the fastest known rotation rate, PSR J1748-2446ad, star clusters with a high concentration of pulsars, and (using the Green Bank Telescope) the "cosmic recycling" of a slow-spinning pulsar into a much faster millisecond pulsar.
Awards and honours
- 1989: Anne Molson Gold Medal in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, McGill University
- 1998: Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society
- 2004: Herzberg Medal of the Canadian Association of Physicists 
- 2006: Steacie Prize 
- 2007: Rutherford Memorial Medal of the Royal Society of Canada
- 2009: Prix Marie-Victorin, the highest scientific award of the province of Québec 
- 2010: Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).
- 2010: Elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
- 2010: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) John C. Polanyi Award 
- 2013: Peter G. Martin Award of Canadian Astronomical Society 
- 2013: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 
- 2014: Elected a Fellow of American Physical Society 
- 2015: Elected member American Academy of Arts & Sciences 
- 2015: Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Prize 
- 2016: Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, the first woman to receive this prize.
- 2016: Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's second highest civilian honour.
- 2017: Fonds de recherche du Québec, Prix d’excellence 
- 2019: Kaspi was recognized by Nature as one Nature's 10 for her work on discovering Fast Radio Bursts with the CHIME telescope.
- 2021: Bakerian Medal of the Royal Society
- Les Prix du Québec - la lauréate Victoria Kaspi. (In French.)
- Kaspi earns Quebec’s top honour, McGill Reporter, January 24, 2010.
- Victoria Kaspi, by Bronwyn Chester, McGill Reporter, January 25, 2001.
- Reaching for stars: juggling ambition, angst Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, Montreal Gazette, February 6, 2007.
- 2004 CAP Herzberg Medal will be awarded to Dr. Victoria Kaspi Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine, Canadian Association of Physicists, retrieved 2010-01-24.
- Scientists Find Second Pulsar and Link It to Ancient Supernova, John Noble Wilford, New York Times, January 11, 2001.
- Evidence Helps Confirm Existence of Powerful Magnetars, Robert Roy Britt, space.com, September 11, 2002.
- Scientists witness cosmic recycling first, AdelaideNow, May 22, 2009.
- Researchers catch nature in the act of "recycling" a star, Space Daily, May 22, 2009.
- McGill professor Vicky Kaspi awarded coveted Steacie Prize, McGill University, December 14, 2006.
- "Past Award Winners | The Royal Society of Canada". rsc-src.ca. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "Victoria Kaspi | Royal Society". royalsociety.org.
- "Error page | Royal Society". royalsociety.org.
- "Victoria Kaspi". www.nasonline.org.
- Government of Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (2016-06-28). "NSERC - John C. Polanyi Award - Past Winners". Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "Martin Award – CASCA". Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal". Board of Governors. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "APS Fellow Archive". www.aps.org. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "Kaspi, Lock elected to American Academy". McGill Reporter. 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "Member Directory | American Academy of Arts and Sciences". www.amacad.org. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "The 2015 Killam Prize". CBC News. 2015-05-15. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "Victoria Kaspi, neutron star researcher at McGill, wins $1M Herzberg medal". CBC News. February 16, 2016.
- Mehta, Diana (February 16, 2016). "Une scientifique de McGill est la première femme à recevoir la médaille Herzberg" (in French). La Presse Canadienne.
- "Governor General Announces 100 New Appointments to the Order of Canada as Canada Turns 150". The Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
- "Fonds Nature et technologies - Victoria Kaspi and Gilbert Laporte receive the 2017 Prix d'excellence FRQNT". www.frqnt.gouv.qc.ca. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- Cyranoski, David; Gaind, Nisha; Gibney, Elizabeth; Masood, Ehsan; Maxmen, Amy; Reardon, Sara; Schiermeier, Quirin; Tollefson, Jeff; Witze, Alexandra (2019). "Nature's 10: Ten people who mattered in science in 2019". Nature. 576 (7787): 361–372. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-03749-0. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 31848484.
- "Bakerian Medal and Lecture winner 2021". Royal Society. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
- Arnold, Janice (6 June 2016). "Jewish McGill Prof First Woman to Win Coveted Gerhard Herzberg Medal". Canadian Jewish News.