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 2024 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 January 15 2024. 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.
2023 Plaskett Medal
CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Deborah Lokhorst as the recipient of the 2023 J.S. Plaskett Medal for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics.
Dr. Lokhorst received her PhD in 2022 under the supervision of Dr. Roberto Abraham at the University of Toronto, and she is now a Herzberg Instrument Science Fellow at NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre. Her thesis titled “Ultra-Narrowband Imaging with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array: Toward the Cosmic Web” is a tour-de-force combining theory, observation, and instrumentation. Dr. Lokhorst played a central role in the construction and scientific exploitation of the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, opening a new window on the ‘low surface brightness Universe’. Her thesis work began with an analysis of hydrodynamical simulations to understand the observational limits needed to directly detect ‘invisible’ gas in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) around nearby galaxies. She then designed, machined, and assembled the prototype of a new component of the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, the ‘Filter-Tilter’, to allow the required limits to be achieved. She finally obtained the first scientific observations taken by a pathfinder Dragonfly narrowband imager, discovering a giant ionized gas cloud in the CGM of the starburst galaxy M82.
CASCA is delighted to recognize Dr. Lokhorst’s achievements with this award.
|2022||Deborah Good||University of British Columbia||“Timing Pulsars and Detecting Radio Transients with CHIME” View Citation|
|2021||Ziggy Pleunis||McGill University||“Fast radio burst detection and morphology with the CHIME telescope” View Citation|
|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|