J.S. Plaskett Medal

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 their 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 their  doctoral studies. As part of the internal initial selection process within a department to determine the one candidate to be nominated for the Plaskett Medal, it is recommended to allow and encourage self-nominations.

For consideration for the 2025 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:

  1. a letter of recommendation (see nomination guidelines) in support of the candidate/thesis (maximum three pages);
  2. a copy of the thesis;
  3. 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.

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.

2024 Plaskett Medal

Antoine Bédard

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Antoine Bédard as the recipient of the 2024 J.S. Plaskett Medal for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics.

Dr. Bédard received his PhD from Université de Montréal, under the supervision of Drs. Pierre Bergeron and Pierre Brassard, and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Warwick (UK). His thesis, titled ‘Characterization and modeling of the spectral evolution of hot white dwarf stars’, combines observations, model atmosphere and stellar evolution calculations, data analyses, and interpretations. Dr. Bédard’s thesis begins with spectroscopic analysis of 2000 hot white dwarfs, providing our best picture of white dwarf spectral evolution. He then substantially reworked the STELUM stellar evolutionary code and used this to simulate white dwarf spectral evolution. Finally, he applied his numerical simulations to self-consistently explain the physics behind the spectral evolution of white dwarfs as they cool, solving several well-known longstanding problems in the study of white dwarfs. Dr. Bédard’s thesis introduction provides a thorough overview of the study of white dwarfs for graduate students and other researchers working on this topic, and his papers have already had a wide impact in the field.

CASCA is delighted to recognize Dr. Bédard’s achievements with this award.

Recipients to date have been:
2023 Dr. Deborah LokhorstDeborah Lokhorst NRC Herzberg Astronomy “Ultra-Narrowband Imaging with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array” View Citation
2022 Deborah GoodDeborah Good University of British Columbia “Timing Pulsars and Detecting Radio Transients with CHIME” View Citation
2021 BlouinZiggy Pleunis McGill University “Fast radio burst detection and morphology with the CHIME telescope” View Citation
2020 BlouinSimon Blouin Université de Montréal “Modeling of high-density effects at the photosphere of cool white dwarf stars” View Citation
2019 TetarenkoAlexandra Tetarenko University of Alberta “The physics of relativistic jets in X-ray binaries” View Citation
2018 EadieGwendoline Eadie McMaster University “Lights in Dark Places: Inferring the Milky Way Mass Profile using Galactic Satellites and Hierarchical Bayes” View Citation
2017 RajabiFereshteh Rajabi University of Western Ontario “Dicke’s Superradiance in Astrophysics” View Citation
2016 GagneJonathan Gagné Université de Montréal “The search for brown dwarfs and low-mass stars in young associations of the solar neighborhood” View Citation
2015 ponAnne Archibald McGill University “The End of Accretion: The X-ray Binary/Millisecond Pulsar Transition Object PSR J1023+0038” View Citation
2014 ponAndrew 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

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