First Woman to Ever Win Canada’s Top Science Award is Astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi

Dr. Victoria Kaspi speaking at the Perimeter Institute

This is a big week in Canadian astrophysics. Dr. Victoria Kaspi, an astrophysics professor at McGill University, just won the Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal. This is a $1 million prize (CDN, of course) awarded for “sustained excellence and overall influence of research work conducted in Canada in the natural sciences or engineering.”And for the last 25 years, the award has gone to men. Chemistry men, biology men and even physics and astronomy men. It’s good to see that the cycle has been broken, and a woman has taken the award… finally.For those of you who don’t know who Dr. Kaspi is, she’s one of the world’s leading researchers on neutron stars. We’ve written about her work many times.The timing of this announcement couldn’t be more ideal. Much of Dr. Kaspi’s work has been to pin down Einstein’s predictions about gravitational waves through the interactions of binary pulsars and neutron stars. Now that gravitational waves have been detected directly by LIGO, the two research paths can start to share notes.If you want more info on Dr. Kaspi and the award, check out this great article from Ivan Semeniuk.But I think the best way to celebrate is just to watch her speak for an hour about how pulsars are the cosmic gifts that just keep on giving.

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