The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Canadian Astronomical Society have established an award entitled The Plaskett Medal in recognition of the pivotal role played by John Stanley Plaskett in the establishment of astrophysical research in Canada. The award, consisting of a gold medal, is to be made annually to the Ph.D. graduate from a Canadian university who is judged to have submitted the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics within the last two calendar years. The recipient is invited to address one or the other of the sponsoring Societies (at his or her choice) at their Annual Meeting, and to submit an invited article for the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (JRASC). The recipient will receive a $750 honorarium and all expenses to attend the meeting will be covered by that Society.
At most one candidate may be nominated by the head of his/her department from among the graduates of that university. The candidate need not have carried out his/her work in an astronomy or physics department, however, to be considered for the award, the candidate must be a CASCA member in good standing or must have been a CASCA member in good standing for at least two years during his/her doctoral studies.
For consideration for the 2021 award, the department chair (or a faculty member delegated by the department chair to act on their behalf) should send, in pdf format, the following materials to the chair of the awards committee:
- a letter of recommendation (see nomination guidelines) in support of the candidate/thesis (maximum three pages);
- a copy of the thesis;
- a letter of support solicited from the external examiner of the thesis. If a letter from the external examiner can not be obtained, a copy of his/her report of the thesis/defence is acceptable.
The deadline for submission is Dec 31 2020. Note that if the thesis does not clearly indicate how much of its content represents the original work and ideas of the author, this should be addressed in the nomination letter. No other material should be submitted.
Note that the phrase “within the last two calendar years” in the eligibility rules makes it possible to re-nominate a candidate for whom an unsuccessful nomination was made in the preceding year. Because none of the documentation of previous nominations is retained for the use of the current selection committee, all re-nominations should be submitted with full documentation.
2021 Plaskett Medal
CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Ziggy Pleunis as the recipient of the 2021 J. S. Plaskett Medal for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics.
Dr. Pleunis completed his PhD thesis in 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Victoria Kaspi at McGill University, and will soon be moving to the University of Toronto as a Dunlap Fellow. His thesis, titled “Fast radio burst detection and morphology with the CHIME telescope” represents a set of groundbreaking contributions to the fast-emerging field of Fast Radio Burst (FRB) astronomy. Dr. Pleunis has contributed to all aspects of the CHIME telescope’s FRB project, from instrumentation to software to observation to analysis to science interpretation. Beyond CHIME, he has also made multiple breakthroughs using the LOw Frequency Array (LOFAR), whether in the discovery of a low-frequency FRB or the study of millisecond pulsars.
CASCA is delighted to recognize Dr. Pleunis’s achievements with this award.
Additionally, we would like to recognize the exceptional theses of all the finalists: Dr. Ryan Cloutier, Dr. Maan Hani, Dr. Eric Koch, Dr. Ian Roberts, and Dr. Kaja Rotermund.
|2020||Simon Blouin||Université de Montréal||“Modeling of high-density effects at the photosphere of cool white dwarf stars” View Citation|
|2019||Alexandra Tetarenko||University of Alberta||“The physics of relativistic jets in X-ray binaries” View Citation|
|2018||Gwendoline Eadie||McMaster University||“Lights in Dark Places: Inferring the Milky Way Mass Profile using Galactic Satellites and Hierarchical Bayes” View Citation|
|2017||Fereshteh Rajabi||University of Western Ontario||“Dicke’s Superradiance in Astrophysics” View Citation|
|2016||Jonathan Gagné||Université de Montréal||“The search for brown dwarfs and low-mass stars in young associations of the solar neighborhood” View Citation|
|2015||Anne Archibald||McGill University||“The End of Accretion: The X-ray Binary/Millisecond Pulsar Transition Object PSR J1023+0038” View Citation|
|2014||Andrew Pon||University of Victoria||“Shocks, Superbubbles, and Filaments: Investigations into Large Scale Gas Motions in Giant Molecular Clouds” View Citation|
|2013||Yasuhiro Hasegawa||McMaster University||“Planet Traps in Protoplanetary Disk and the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems.” View Citation|
|2012||Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay||Université de Montréal||“Improved View of Hydrogen-Rich Atmosphere White Dwarfs”|
|2011||Kaitlin Kratter||University of Toronto||“The Role of Disks in the Formation of Stellar Systems”|
|2010||Helen Kirk||University of Victoria||“Star Formation in the Perseus Molecular Cloud”|
|2009||Catherine Lovekin||St. Mary’s University||“The Effects of Rotation and Overshoot on Stellar Pulsation Frequencies”|
|2008||Adam Muzzin||University of Toronto||” Clusters of Galaxies in the Near to Mid-Infrared”|
|2007||Frédéric Grandmont||Université Laval||“Développement d’un spectromètre imageur à transformée de Fourier pour l’astronomie”|
|2006||Lauren MacArthur||University of British Columbia||“Stellar Populations in Spiral Galaxies”|
|2005||Christian Marois||Université de Montréal||“Direct Exoplanet Imaging around Sun-like Stars: Beating the Speckle Noise with Innovative Imaging Techniques”|
|2004||Jo-Anne Brown||University of Calgary||“The Magnetic Field of the Outer Galaxy”|
|2003||Tracy Webb||University of Toronto|
|2002||Edward Thommes||Queen’s University|
|2001||Peter Brown||University of Western Ontario|
|2000||Alexei Razoumov||University of British Columbia|
|1999||Stéphane Charpinet||Université de Montréal|
|1998||Dean E. McLaughlin||McMaster University||“Star Formation in Molecular Clouds and Globular Clusters”|
|1997||Alain Beauchamp||Université de Montréal|
|1996||Gordon Squires||University of Toronto|
|1995||Michael Richer||York University|
|1994||Grant M. Hill||University of Western Ontario|
|1993||Pierre Brassard||Université de Montréal|
|1992||Eric Poisson||University of Alberta|
|1991||Paul Charbonneau||Université de Montréal|
|1990||Pierre Bergeron||Université de Montréal|
|1989||Peter Leonard||University of Toronto|
|1988||Richard O. Gray||University of Toronto|