Victoria Kaspi is a leading physicist, whose work in astrophysics has garnered her many prestigious awards and fellowships.
Born in the US, Kaspi moved to Canada when she was seven years old. She earned her undergraduate degree in Physics at McGill and her PhD at Princeton, prior to returning to McGill to teach in 1999.
Kaspi’s research focuses on the behaviour of “zombie stars”: stars that are running out of fuel but have not yet collapsed into black holes. This intermediate stage provides scientists with opportunities to test theoretical ideas that are impossible to test on earth. The Canadian government has recognized Kaspi’s scientific contributions as having “had a major impact in the field of astrophysics.”
Kaspi has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society, the Herzberg Medal of the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Steacie Prize, the Rutherford Memorial Medal of the Royal Society of Canada and the Polanyi Award. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2009, she won the Prix Marie-Victorin, the most prestigious scientific award in Quebec. In 2016, she won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada – the first woman, and one of the two youngest people in Canada, to ever win the prestigious $1M research fellowship. She intends to use the money to investigate “fast radio bursts” – powerful, very short radio pulses from somewhere far away in the universe.