The Steacie and a Slew of Sloans

It’s already a big awards year for researchers in the Faculty of Science. Victoria Kaspi is this year’s winner of the Steacie Prize in the Natural Sciences, which recognizes a young scientist or engineer for notable contributions to research in Canada. Kaspi, who is McGill’s Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology and the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics, received the $15,000 award for her groundbreaking work on neutron stars.

Each year, the New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awards 118 two-year fellowships, each worth $45,000 U.S., to early-career scientists. This year, four McGill researchers received Sloan Research Fellowships: Mathieu Blanchette, professor at the Centre for Bioinformatics of the McGill School of Computer Science, uses complex algorithms to decode the function of DNA; Aashish Clerk, professor in the Department of Physics, is a theoretical condensed matter physicist who explores the complex quantum-mechanical behaviour of electrons in nanostructures; Patrick Hayden, professor in the School of Computer Science, is a Rhodes Scholar and McGill graduate whose work focuses on developing new ways to manipulate quantum information at the very limits of the laws of physics; and Jacques Verstraete, professor in the Department of Mathematics, works in the relatively new areas of extremal and probabilistic combinatories. McGill’s Sloan showing outperformed all other Canadian universities, as well as Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Yale.