Montreal astrophysicist becomes first woman to win top science prize

TORONTO -- A McGill University astrophysicist has become the first woman to receive one of the top science prizes in the country.

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Victoria Kaspi will be officially handed the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering by the Governor General in Ottawa later today.

The medal, awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, recognizes top researchers in the fields of natural sciences and engineering.

Kaspi, who is one of the world's leading experts on neutron stars -- the ancient remnants of the most massive stars in the Milky Way -- will receive $1 million over five years for her work.

NSERC president Mario Pinto says Kaspi's work has had a tremendous impact in the field of astrophysics.

He says the 48-year-old astrophysicist's win also marks a "significant watershed moment" that signals to girls and young women that it is possible to achieve high honours in science.



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