Place of Ceremony: Great Hall of Acts, “Sala dos Capelos”
Host Institution: University of Coimbra
Host Country: Portugal
The winner of the 2022 Albert Einstein World Award of Science was Professor Victoria M. Kaspi, Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and Distinguished James McGill Chair at McGill University, and Director of the McGill Space Institute, Canada. She is a world leader in studies of neutron stars. Her research group has produced many of the most exciting results in this field and puts Canada at the cutting-edge of astrophysics.
The prize was awarded in recognition of her fundamental contributions to our understanding of the most extreme form of stars known in our universe the “magnetars”, neutron stars having the highest magnetic fields known in the Universe. Her work connecting their X-ray flaring behaviour to their timing properties has been fundamental to understanding the cause of the flares and the key differences in the structure and evolution of the magnetospheres of magnetars compared to those of “ordinary” neutron stars.
The WCC acknowledged Professor Kaspi’s seminal and ground-breaking work involving dense stellar objects. Her work has had a major impact on astronomy, especially regarding the physics of neutron stars which is an important piece to understanding the content of our universe.
More recently she has turned to the study of a new astrophysical puzzle, the Fast Radio Burst (FRB), coming from far outside our galaxy. She leads the CHIME Fast Radio Burst Project which, using the CHIME telescope has discovered more FRBs than all other radio telescopes combined.
A true mentor, Kaspi has the ability to guide future leaders and be a recognized ambassador in science and a valued role model for young researchers.
Professor Kaspi is also recognized for her ability to convey her work to the general public. She is often quoted in the popular press and has participated in television and video work and is a recognized ambassador of science as well as a valued role model for women in science.
Professor Kaspi’s stature in the international community is demonstrated by the number of awards bestowed on her. These include, to name but a few, the Shaw prize, the Bakerian Medal and Lecture, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada´s Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal for Science. Professor Kaspi is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), the United States National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of Canada, among many other prestigious organizations.
In summary, Prof. Kaspi has made—and continues to make—fundamental contributions to our understanding of the most extreme form of stars known in our universe. She has accomplished this by applying creative observational techniques and demonstrating the strong leadership qualities necessary to direct large, diverse research teams towards a common goal.