Victoria Kaspi

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Vicky Kaspi

Victoria Michelle Kaspi

(1967-06-30) June 30, 1967 (age 52)
Alma mater McGill University (BS)
Princeton University (PhD)
Known for Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment
Spouse(s)David Langleben
Scientific career
Fields Pulsars
Neutron stars
Institutions McGill University
California Institute of Technology
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thesis Applications of pulsar timing  (1993)
Doctoral advisor Joseph Taylor

Victoria Michelle Kaspi CC FRS FRSC (born June 30, 1967) is an American-Canadian astrophysicist and a professor at McGill University. Her research primarily concerns neutron stars and pulsars. [1]


Early life and education

Kaspi was born in Austin, Texas, but her family moved to Canada when she was seven years old. [1] 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 [1] [2]

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. [1] At McGill, she held one of McGill's first Canada Research Chairs, [3] and in 2006 she was named the Lorne Trottier Professor of Astrophysics. [4] She is also a Fellow in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. [5]

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. [6]

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. [5] [7]

She also helped discover the pulsar with the fastest known rotation rate, PSR J1748-2446ad, [2] star clusters with a high concentration of pulsars, [2] and (using the Green Bank Telescope) the "cosmic recycling" of a slow-spinning pulsar into a much faster millisecond pulsar. [8] [9]

Awards and honours

Personal life

Kaspi is Jewish. [27] Her husband, David Langleben, is a cardiologist at McGill [3] and the chief of cardiology at Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. [4]

Related Research Articles

Magnetar type of neutron star

A magnetar is a type of neutron star believed to have an extremely powerful magnetic field (∼1013 to 1015 G, ∼109 to 1011 T). The magnetic field decay powers the emission of high-energy electromagnetic radiation, particularly X-rays and gamma rays. The theory regarding these objects was proposed by Robert Duncan and Christopher Thompson in 1992, but the first recorded burst of gamma rays thought to have been from a magnetar had been detected on March 5, 1979. During the following decade, the magnetar hypothesis became widely accepted as a likely explanation for soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs).

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Les Prix du Québec - la lauréate Victoria Kaspi. (In French.)
  2. 1 2 3 4 Kaspi earns Quebec’s top honour, McGill Reporter, January 24, 2010.
  3. 1 2 Victoria Kaspi, by Bronwyn Chester, McGill Reporter, January 25, 2001.
  4. 1 2 Reaching for stars: juggling ambition, angst Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine , Montreal Gazette , February 6, 2007.
  5. 1 2 3 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.
  6. Scientists Find Second Pulsar and Link It to Ancient Supernova, John Noble Wilford, New York Times , January 11, 2001.
  7. Evidence Helps Confirm Existence of Powerful Magnetars, Robert Roy Britt,, September 11, 2002.
  8. Scientists witness cosmic recycling first, AdelaideNow, May 22, 2009.
  9. Researchers catch nature in the act of "recycling" a star, Space Daily, May 22, 2009.
  10. McGill professor Vicky Kaspi awarded coveted Steacie Prize, McGill University, December 14, 2006.
  11. "Past Award Winners | The Royal Society of Canada". Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  12. "Victoria Kaspi | Royal Society".
  13. "Error page | Royal Society".
  14. "Victoria Kaspi".
  15. 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.
  16. "Martin Award – CASCA" . Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  17. "Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal". Board of Governors. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  18. "APS Fellow Archive". Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  19. "Kaspi, Lock elected to American Academy". McGill Reporter. 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  20. "Member Directory | American Academy of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  21. "The 2015 Killam Prize". CBC News. 2015-05-15. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  22. "Victoria Kaspi, neutron star researcher at McGill, wins $1M Herzberg medal". CBC News. February 16, 2016.
  23. Mehta, Diana (February 16, 2016). "Une scientifique de McGill est la première femme à recevoir la médaille Herzberg" (in French). La Presse Canadienne.
  24. "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.
  25. "Fonds Nature et technologies - Victoria Kaspi and Gilbert Laporte receive the 2017 Prix d'excellence FRQNT". Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  26. 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.
  27. Arnold, Janice (6 June 2016). "Jewish McGill Prof First Woman to Win Coveted Gerhard Herzberg Medal". Canadian Jewish News.