Professor Victoria Michelle Kaspi FRS
Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, McGill University.
Kaspi's research is focused on the observational study of neutron stars. She and her collaborators showed that anomalous X-ray pulsars exhibit glitches, stable spin properties, and X-ray bursts, thereby strongly suggesting that they are magnetars (neutron stars powered by magnetic fields of up to a petaguass). She used magnetospheric eclipses in a double pulsar to detect spin precession at the rate predicted by general relativity (to within 13%), one of the few tests of relativity in strong fields. Kaspi has discovered novel phenomena in binaries containing neutron stars, including the first millisecond pulsar in an eccentric orbit, the first pulsar to exhibit spin-orbit coupling, and emission from the colliding winds between a neutron star and a Be star companion. Kaspi and collaborators also introduced phase-coherent timing of pulsars in X-rays, derived strong upper limits on the cosmological density of gravitational waves and the rate of change of Newton's gravitational constant from pulsar timing, found the fastest rotating pulsar (716 Hz), and discovered many new pulsars. Most of these projects were led by Kaspi or her students or postdocs at McGill, where she has led the development of a strong astrophysics group.