Antoine Bédard receives the 2024 Plaskett Medal

AntoineBedard The Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) awarded the J.S. Plaskett Medal for 2024 to Antoine Bédard for the best doctoral thesis in astrophysics in Canada.

Antoine Bédard completed his doctorate in 2022 in the Physics Department at the Université de Montréal, under the supervision of Professor Pierre Bergeron and physicist Pierre Brassard. Antoine Bédard’s thesis focused on white dwarf stars, the endpoint of stellar evolution for more than 97% of the stars in our galaxy, including the Sun. Having exhausted the nuclear fuel in their core, they gradually cool down over several billion years. During their evolution, the chemical composition of their outer layers and their spectral appearance are modified by a series of competing mechanisms, including gravitationally induced chemical separation, convective mixing, convective dredge-up from the core, circumstellar material accretion, radiative acceleration and stellar winds. The study of this so-called spectral evolution is at the heart of Antoine Bédard’s work. To tackle these complex problems, Antoine has used a sophisticated evolutionary code developed at the Université de Montréal, called STELUM, which includes a consistent and realistic treatment of the transport of chemical elements. Using these detailed numerical simulations, he was able to explain many previously unexplained astrophysical phenomena concerning the spectral evolution of white dwarfs.

Antoine Bédard began a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Warwick in the UK in October 2022. His current research focuses on developing detailed models of the structure and evolution of white dwarfs, based on state-of-the-art physical theories and numerical techniques. He is particularly interested in the phenomenon of core crystallization (a phase transition that causes the stellar core to solidify into a crystal) and its influence on the cooling process. He is also continuing his work on the complex effects of the transport of chemical elements in the stellar envelope (due to diffusion, convection, and winds) on the evolution of white dwarfs.

The Centre for research in astrophysics of Quebec (CRAQ) congratulates Antoine Bédard for this prestigious award.

About the Plaskett Medal

The Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) inaugurated a price, the Plaskett Medal, in recognition of the important role played by John Stanley Plaskett (1865-1941) in the development of astrophysical research in Canada. The price, consisting of a gold medal, is awarded each year to the PhD graduate from a Canadian university with the most remarkable PhD thesis in astrophysics in the preceding two years. The laureate is then invited to give a conference lecture at the CASCA annual meeting, held this year in Toronto.

Several former student members of the CRAQ have received the Plaskett Medal, including Pierre Bergeron (UdeM, 1990), Paul Charbonneau (UdeM, 1991), Pierre Brassard (UdeM, 1993), Alain Beauchamp (UdeM, 1997), Stéphane Charpinet (UdeM, 1999), Christian Marois (UdeM, 2005), Frédéric Grandmont (ULaval, 2007), Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay (UdeM, 2012), Anne Archibald (McGill, 2015) and Jonathan Gagné (UdeM, 2016), Simon Blouin (UdeM, 2020), and Ziggy Pleunis (McGill, 2021). The CRAQ is proud to say that its members (and former members) have received 13 out of the 37 annual Plaskett Medals.

About the Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec

The Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec (CRAQ) brings together all the astrophysicists in Quebec. Nearly 150 people, including some fifty researchers and their students from Université de Montréal, McGill University, Université Laval, Bishop’s University, Cégep de Sherbrooke, Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne and a number of other collaborating institutions are part of the cluster. The CRAQ is under the direction of David Lafrenière of the Université de Montréal. The CRAQ is one of the strategic clusters funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature and Technologies (FRQNT).

Media Contact

Frédérique Baron
Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec
514-343-6111 # 3798.