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Victoria Kaspi, member of the CRAQ and professor at the McGill Physics Department, is the recipient of the 2010 John-C.-Polanyi prize of the NSERC.

A neutron star is the remnant of an exploded star. It is more massive than the Sun but its size is roughly that of a large city like Montreal. This type of object offers possibilities to study the behavior of dense matter because of the extreme gravitational and magnetic forces involved.

By studying these ultra-dense objects, the astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi improved our understanding of fundamental physical laws. She has been awarded the 2010 John-C.-Polanyi prize of the NSERC for her recent discoveries.

In 2009, the research group of Prof. Kaspi, which included the PhD student René Breton, attracted a lot of media attention by reinforcing the validity of Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Victoria Kaspi and her team also established a link between pulsars and magnetars, another subgroup of neutron stars characterized by a very strong magnetic field. Her work permitted the clarification of the link between these seemingly different classes of objects. Also, her discovery of a very-fast spinning neutron star called into questions the theoretical models of spinning neutron stars. This discovery of such an object, which was thought to be inexistent, led to the belief that even faster spinning neutron star may exist.

In addition to questioning the current opinions and theories with her work, Prof. Kaspi made use of her communication talents to contribute to public outreach program on a regular basis. She also worked with organization like the Canadian Space Agency to create videos promoting scientific research careers for students.

The CRAQ congratulates Victoria Kaspi for this prestigious award.

About the award: The John-C.-Polanyi prize of the NSERC was created in 2006 in recognition of a researcher or a team of researcher whose work, conducted in Canada, led to a remarkable breakthrough in a natural science or engineering field supported by the NSERC. The prize includes a research grant of $250,000. It was created to honor the excellence in research of Mr. John C. Polanyi, chemistry Nobel laureate in 1986. The NSERC is proud to award a prize bearing his name.

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